Like all the spice blends I use regularly, this is one I grind myself. Unlike many of the others, this one requires a decent number of spices – eleven, to be exact. Sure, you can buy homemade shawarma spice at your local Arab supermarket – and probably at Whole Foods these days, too – but I still maintain there’s something special about grinding your own spice blend.
In addition to the recipe below, you can also add a tablespoon of cumin seeds, and a half tablespoon of ground turmeric if you desire. Everyone makes their shawarma differently, and it’s really up to your tastebuds. If you feel there’s something missing, try adding the cumin and turmeric, and you should be happy. I don’t add salt to my shawarma spice, mostly because I use it for different applications, which require different amounts of salt. If you like yours with salt already added, start with a half tablespoon and adjust as needed.
If you don’t own a spice grinder you can use ground spices – I’ve included the amounts in the recipe below as well. As always, I highly recommend grinding your own spices because it saves money and the flavours are more intense – but it’s definitely added work, and we’re all busy – so you do what works best for you. If you’re going to buy pre-ground spices, I highly recommend The Spice House for their high quality (and free shipping if you order their environmentally-friendly flat packs!)
Shawarma Spice Blend
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp black peppercorns (or ground)
- 1 Tbsp white peppercorns (or ground)
- 2 Tbsp allspice berries (or ground)
- 2 medium cinnamon sticks (or 1 Tbsp ground)
- 4-6 blades of mace (or nutmeg, or 1 Tbsp ground)
- 1 Tbsp cardamom (green), seeds (or 1 Tbsp ground)
- ½ Tbsp chili powder (or chipotle powder)
- ½ Tbsp Aleppo pepper (optional)
- ½ Tbsp dried marjoram (or oregano)
- ½ tsp cloves, whole (or ½ tsp ground)
- Grind all spices. Blend thoroughly.