Shawarma Rub

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Enjoy the easy, addictive, vibrant flavors of Arabic food with our easy-to-prepare and versatile Shawarma rub recipe, designed to infuse your meat with the irresistible, aromatic essence of authentic street food from the Middle East!

shawarma mix in a small bowl
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shawarma rub mix in a bowl

Easy Shawarma Seasoning Mix

Shawarma, a culinary treasure that hails from the Middle East, is an epitome of rich and diverse flavors. It is traditionally prepared by marinating layers of meat—be it chicken, beef, or lamb—stacked on a vertical spit, slowly turning against a fire. But the secret to a tantalizing shawarma doesn’t just lie in the method of cooking; it is also all about the perfect blend of spices and herbs used to season the meat.

Our Shawarma rub recipe is a tribute to the alluring flavors of the Middle East. The magic of the recipe rests in a delicate balance of earthy, sweet, spicy, and savory notes that explode in the mouth with every bite. Coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and garlic powder are just a few of the core ingredients that bring together the symphony of flavors in this Shawarma rub. Whether you’re cooking on a spit, grill, or even in your kitchen oven, this rub will infuse your meat with that authentic, deeply aromatic, and irresistible shawarma taste.

Prepare to embark on a journey with this delicious and easy to use on almost anything Shawarma rub – it’s an easy way to bring a taste of the vibrant Middle Eastern street food scene right into your kitchen. This rub is not just easy to prepare but also versatile, and it promises to elevate your grilling game to the next level. Don’t be surprised if your home starts smelling like a bustling shawarma joint!

shawarma rub mix in a bowl

How to Make Shawarma Rub

To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

  • Ground Cumin: This spice offers a warm, earthy flavor and is often associated with a characteristic slightly bitter and somewhat spicy taste. It’s a key ingredient in many Middle Eastern dishes and contributes a depth of flavor in our shawarma rub.
  • Ground Coriander: Coriander provides a citrusy, nutty flavor that complements the earthiness of the cumin and the other spices, offering a bright and fresh counterpoint in the spice blend.
  • Ground Turmeric: Known for its bright yellow color, turmeric brings a warm, bitter, and pepper-like flavor. It enhances the other spices and also provides a gorgeous color to the shawarma.
  • Smoked Paprika: This spice offers sweet, smoky undertones, contributing to the vibrant color and the warm, smoky flavor in the spice blend.
  • Ground Allspice: Despite its name, allspice is a single spice that brings a flavor reminiscent of a blend of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, adding a certain depth and complexity to the shawarma rub.
  • Ground Black Pepper: A kitchen staple, black pepper brings a sharp, spicy heat that rounds out the flavors of the other spices.
  • Ground Cardamom: Known for its slightly sweet, floral, and spicy flavor, cardamom gives an extra layer of complexity to the spice mix.
  • Ground Aleppo or Cayenne Pepper: These spices are used for their heat, which can range from mild (Aleppo) to more spicy (cayenne). They add a kick that accentuates the other flavors.
  • Ground Cinnamon: Cinnamon imparts a sweet, woody aroma and is also slightly warming to the taste, which complements the heat from the cayenne and black pepper.
  • Ground Cloves: Cloves offer a strong, pungent, sweet, and slightly bitter flavor that adds an intense depth to the blend.
  • Garlic Powder: An essential ingredient in many cuisines, garlic powder offers a savory, umami flavor that adds a rich, savory base to the rub.
  • Salt: A necessary ingredient in almost every recipe, salt enhances the flavors of all the other spices and binds them together.
  • Sesame Seeds: Commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine, sesame seeds give a nutty flavor and a slight crunch to the shawarma rub, providing an interesting texture contrast.
  • Dried Onion Flakes (Optional): If used, dried onion flakes will add a subtle sweetness and a hint of sharpness that complements the overall flavor profile.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:

  • Mix. In a small bowl, mix together all the ground spices until well combined. This includes the cumin, coriander, turmeric, smoked paprika, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cloves, and garlic powder.
  • Adjust. Season the mixture with salt, adjusting to taste. Mix well.
  • Use when you cook. Your Shawarma rub is ready to be used! You can rub it directly onto your choice of meat (chicken, beef, or lamb) before grilling or roasting.
  • Store. Any leftover rub can be stored in an airtight container. Keep it in a cool, dry place, and it should retain its flavor for up to six months.
shawarma rub mix in a bowl

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Shawarma Rub

Use Fresh Spices: Always use fresh spices for the best flavor. Ground spices start to lose their flavor over time, so for the most potent and vibrant taste, ensure your spices are as fresh as possible.

Grind Your Own Spices: If you have whole spices and a spice grinder, consider grinding your own. Whole spices hold onto their flavor longer than ground spices, and freshly ground spices will provide the most potent flavors.

Store Properly: Once you’ve made your Shawarma rub, make sure to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Exposure to light, heat, and air can cause spices to lose their flavor more rapidly.

Seasoning to Taste: The beauty of making your own Shawarma rub is the ability to customize it to your taste. Start with the recipe and then feel free to adjust the proportions to your liking. If you want it spicier, add more cayenne pepper. If you prefer a sweeter profile, consider adding a touch more cinnamon or allspice.

Infuse the Meat Well: When it comes to using your rub, make sure to give it time to infuse the meat with flavor. Applying the rub and letting the meat marinate for at least a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator will help the flavors penetrate the meat.

Use Generously: Don’t be shy when applying the Shawarma rub to your meat. You want to coat the meat evenly and generously to ensure every bite is full of that delightful Shawarma flavor.

Cook Slowly: Traditionally, Shawarma is slow-cooked, which allows the flavors to develop and infuse the meat deeply. If you’re not using a traditional Shawarma spit, slow roasting or grilling your meat can also achieve good results.

FAQs

  1. What is Shawarma rub? Shawarma rub is a spice blend used to marinate the meat used in making Shawarma, a popular Middle Eastern dish. It typically includes spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, and garlic powder, among others.
  2. Can I use the Shawarma rub on different types of meat?
  3. How long should I let my meat marinate with the Shawarma rub?
  4. I don’t have all the spices listed in the recipe. Can I still make the Shawarma rub?
  5. Can I store the Shawarma rub, and if so, how?
  6. Is Shawarma rub spicy?
  7. Can I use Shawarma rub for vegetarian or vegan dishes?
  8. I don’t have a grill or Shawarma spit. Can I still use the Shawarma rub?
What is shawarma rub?

Shawarma rub is a spice blend used to marinate the meat used in making Shawarma, a popular Middle Eastern dish. It typically includes spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, and garlic powder, among others.

Can I use this rub on any type of meat?

Absolutely. While Shawarma is traditionally made with chicken, beef, or lamb, the rub is versatile and can be used on any type of meat, including pork, turkey, and even fish.

How long should I marinate meat with shawarma rub?

Ideally, you should allow your meat to marinate for a few hours to overnight. This will allow the flavors to penetrate the meat more deeply. However, if you’re short on time, even 30 minutes of marinating can impart some flavor.

I don’t have all the spices listed – can I still make this rub?

The Shawarma rub recipe is quite forgiving. If you’re missing an ingredient, you can still make the rub. It might not taste exactly the same, but it should still be flavorful.

Can I store shawarma rub?

Yes, you can store the Shawarma rub. After mixing the spices, transfer the rub to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dark place. It should retain its flavor for up to six months.

Is shawarma rub spicy?

The spice level of Shawarma rub can be adjusted according to your preference. The inclusion of spices like cayenne pepper or Aleppo pepper can add a kick, but you can use less if you prefer a milder flavor.

Can I use shawarma rub on vegetarian dishes?

Definitely! While traditionally used on meat, Shawarma rub can also be used to season vegetables, tofu, or other plant-based proteins.

I don’t have a spit. Can I still use shawarma rub?

Yes, you can use the Shawarma rub even if you’re cooking in an oven, on a stovetop, or using a countertop grill. The important part is the marinating process, which allows the meat or vegetables to absorb the flavors.

What to Serve With Shawarma Rub

Shawarma rubbed meats, vegetables, and even breads or rice flavored with shawarma seasoning are delicious with a variety of foods from the Mediterranean – we love serving this with bread and tzatziki, with cous cous, Zhoug (Skhug) Sauce, sabich, and more!

Pita Bread or Flatbread: Shawarma is traditionally served wrapped in a warm pita bread or flatbread. You can fill it with your Shawarma-rubbed grilled or roasted meat or vegetables, and add some fresh veggies for crunch.

Tzatziki Sauce or Tahini Sauce: These sauces make a refreshing, creamy counterpoint to the richly spiced Shawarma. Tzatziki is a cucumber yogurt sauce, while tahini sauce is made from sesame seeds.

Fresh Salad: A fresh salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and a simple lemon and olive oil dressing can balance the hearty Shawarma. You might also consider a tabbouleh salad or a fattoush salad for more Middle Eastern flavors.

Pickles: Pickled cucumbers or other pickled vegetables, like turnips or beets, are often served with Shawarma. They provide a tangy contrast to the spiced meat.

Rice: A side of flavored rice, like turmeric rice or saffron rice, pairs well with Shawarma.

Hummus: This creamy chickpea spread is a classic Middle Eastern side that complements Shawarma nicely. You can serve it with pita bread or use it as a spread in your Shawarma wrap.

Garlic Sauce: A popular condiment in many Shawarma joints, garlic sauce (or “toum”) is a strong, creamy sauce that pairs incredibly well with the spices in the Shawarma rub.

French Fries: In some places, it’s common to stuff some French fries into the Shawarma wrap itself, offering a delightful crispy texture.

shawarma rub mix in a bowl

Shawarma Rub Recipe

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shawarma rub mix in a bowl

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Shawarma Rub

Smoky, lightly spicy, and rich shawarma rub is the perfect way to add a delicious Middle Eastern flavor to your meats, vegetables, and breads!
Course Herb and Seasoning Mixes
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Keyword shaurma, shawarma, shawarma mix, shawarma seasoning, spices
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Calories 50kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground Aleppo or cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes optional

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix together all the ground spices until well combined. This includes the cumin, coriander, turmeric, smoked paprika, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cloves, and garlic powder.
  • Season the mixture with salt, adjusting to taste. Mix well.
  • Your Shawarma rub is ready to be used! You can rub it directly onto your choice of meat (chicken, beef, or lamb) before grilling or roasting.
  • Any leftover rub can be stored in an airtight container. Keep it in a cool, dry place, and it should retain its flavor for up to six months.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 613mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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