Homemade Shawarma Spice Mix

Homemade Shawarma Spice Mix

Shawarma is a typical Middle Eastern street food that’s sold on street corner kiosks, fast food joints, and restaurants in Middle Eastern countries and beyond.

It’s sort of similar to the Greek Gyro but is seasoned with different spices and allowed to marinate for at least a few hours.  It’s usually cooked very much like the Turkish Doner Kebab which is a cone of mixed meats (beef, lamb, and chicken) cooked on a vertical spit.  Typically it’s served as a Shawarma Sandwich which is pita bread stuffed with shaved meat, tahini sauce, and fresh and pickled veggies.  It can also be served as a plate with rice, salad, hummus, and pita bread.

Today most Middle Eastern restaurants and fast food places serve specific shawarma meats such as beef or chicken shawarma in a sandwich or as a plate.  Needless to say both are very popular in our family!

But the real secret to Shawarma isn’t the meat or the way it’s cooked.  The secret lies in the spices used.  You can make shawarma in your oven, grill, and even in your Instant Pot.  In fact I always make it in my Instant Pot!  I’m working on an article to share how to make Beef Shawarma in an Instant Pot; but before I can make any type of shawarma using any method I have to season the meat!

I’m actually a big believer in spice rubs.  I make all sorts of rubs for different things such as my Basic BBQ Chicken Rub. I mean sauces are great for adding flavor to meat after it’s cooked, but what really gives meat great flavor are rubs and marinades.  So if you want to make homemade shawarma that tastes like you ordered it from a Middle Eastern restaurant you’ll need this Shawarma Spice Mix.

I usually mix up a large batch; large meaning enough mix to fill a  quart sized Mason Jar.  I store my Shawarma Spice Mix in a sealed jar in my pantry, it stays fresh for about 3 months, assuming you don’t use it all before then!  The spice mix can be used for beef or chicken shawarma and can even be added to other recipes when you’re wanting to add a touch of exotic flavorings.

To use the mix as a marinade for shawarma I use a teaspoon of mix per pound of meat.  Combine the mix with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, and a pinch of salt then massage it on to the meat.  Place the meat in a ziplock bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

So scroll down for the Shawarma Spice Mix recipe!

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Shawarma Spice Mix
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Shawarma Spice Mix
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Mix all spices together in a large bowl
  2. Transfer spice mix to a mason jar
  3. Place jar lid on tightly and store in a cool dry place
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Basic BBQ Chicken Rub

Basic BBQ Chicken Rub

Who doesn’t love the sweet tangy taste of Barbecued Chicken? But have you ever wondered how those BBQ joints (as my NYC cousin calls them) make such delicious chicken?  I used to think it was all in the sauce which they slather on quite generously.  But oh how wrong I was!  I tried slathering different brands of barbecue sauces on my grilling chicken; all I got was burned sauce dripping off tasteless chicken!  Restaurant worthy finger licking good barbecued chicken requires 2 things:  BBQ Chicken Rub and really good barbecue sauce.

So really it all begins with a basic BBQ Chicken Rub; by the way in case you were wondering barbecued brisket, ribs, and other meats require a rub too; but I use a slightly different version with different spices.  I generally make a large batch of BBQ Chicken Rub, meaning a batch large enough to fill the 8 oz. mason jar I store it in.  This way I always have some handy, at least that’s the plan, whenever we feel like making barbecued chicken.

You will use about 1/4 of the jar each time you want to grill about 8-9 pieces of chicken.  I know it sounds like a lot, but trust me use the correct amount for some amazing chicken.  To use it you will need to drizzle 2 Tbs. of Olive Oil on the chicken ( I use boneless skinless chicken thighs, but you can use whatever parts you want although it’s best to at least remove the skin before seasoning.)  Then massage the BBQ Chicken Rub on each piece of chicken, be sure you get all sides.  Place the chicken in ziplock bag and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Or better still leave it in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.  Remember the longer it rests the more flavoring it will absorb.

If you’ve had the chicken marinating in the fridge for longer than 30 minutes let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature.  Then grill* the chicken until just about 2 minutes before it’s full cooked then brush on barbecue sauce (homemade or your favorite brand) and cook for 1 minute, flip over, brush more sauce on and cook for another minute or until cooked.*  Read Tips on how to Grill Barbecued Chicken below.

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Here’s my recipe for Basic BBQ Chicken Rub.  You can also use it on Turkey and other poultry you want to grill.

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. Paprika

3 Tbs.  Ground Sea Salt

2 1/2 Tbs. Chili Powder

2 1/2 Tbs. Onion Powder

3 Tbs. Garlic Powder

2 1/2 Tbs. Dark Brown Sugar

2 Tsp. Chipotle Chili Powder

2 Tsp. Ground Thyme

2 Tsp.  Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

Transfer to 8 Oz. Mason Jar and store tightly covered in a dry place.

You can store it in the pantry for about 3 months.  Store in the freezer if you want to keep it fresh longer.

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* Tips for Grilling Barbecued Chicken

Spray grill with oil and preheat to high heat

Place chicken on the hot grill and cook uncovered for 5 minutes

Flip chicken over and cook another 5 minutes

Cover the grill and turn heat to low to maintain a temperature of about 325º with lid closed

Cook 5 minutes then flip chicken over and cook another 5 minutes with closed lid

Uncover the chicken and baste with barbecue sauce (homemade or your favorite brand)

Cook uncovered for 1 minute then flip chicken over and baste again

Cook uncovered another minute or until chicken temperature registers 165-180º when you insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken (don’t touch the bone)

If chicken is still undone continue to grill with lid down until it reaches the correct temperature.  If you are doing this baste the chicken with barbecue sauce every 3 minutes until done.

Remove cooked chicken from grill and place in a pot.

Baste with more barbecue sauce and cover pot.

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.  You can serve with a side of barbecue sauce.

Basic BBQ Chicken Rub
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Basic BBQ Chicken Rub
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl anc combine thoroughly
  2. Transfer to an 8 Oz. Mason Jar and cover with a tight lid, store in a dry place
Recipe Notes

This rub will store tightly covered in the pantry for about 3 months.  If you want to store it longer place it in the freezer where it can be stored for 6 months.

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Sweet Lime Cilantro Chicken Skewers

lime cilantro chicken skewersSummer’s in full swing!  This means our backyard grills our working overtime turning out delicious barbecued food.  And those of us who prep for the barbecues are looking for different foods our partners or husbands can toss on the grill.  Well just in time for your July 4th. barbecue are my Sweet Lime Cilantro Chicken Skewers.  They are delicious!

My Sweet Lime Cilantro Chicken Skewers are easy to make and best of all can be served as a meal of chicken kabobs, top fresh salads for a light lunch, or rolled in a tortilla for an delicious snack!

These Sweet Lime Cilantro Chicken Skewers are perfect for your next backyard barbecue.  They’re a little bit sweet, a bit cirtursy, and a whole lot spicy!  Serve it with a side of my Spicy Homemade Salsa for a delicious Mexican Fiesta!

If you’re not a fan of hot spicy food, no worries, just omit the peppers for a milder version.

 

Sweet Lime Cilantro Chicken Skewers
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Sweet Lime Cilantro Chicken Skewers
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a ziplock bag combine chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic, and crushed red pepper together
  2. Squeeze in the juice of the lime into bag
  3. Add Cilantro, lime rind, and olive oil into the spice mixture. Be sure the spices have dissolved and mixed in with the rest of the ingredients
  4. Add chicken cubes. Knead the sealed bag to evenly distribute the spice mixture with the chicken
  5. Place in the fridge until ready to cook. Leave in fridge atleast 2 hours but no more than 24 hours.
  6. Skewer the chicken cubes on to bamboo or metal skewers alternating between meat and bell peppers
  7. Place any remaining marinade in a bowl to use for basting chicken while it cooks.
  8. Grill chicken and serve warm
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Pan Fried Lime Cilantro Chicken Breasts

Pan Fried Lime Cilantro Chicken Breasts

Lime Cilantro ChickenNow that summer’s pretty much hear the temperature is heating up.  The last think many of us want to do is to spend hours in a hot kitchen preparing dinner!  I know I’m always looking for summer dishes I can prepare in minimal time.  Lately I’ve been dishing up my Pan Fried Lime Cilantro Chicken Breasts to the family.  It’s light but filling, takes minutes to prepare, and best of all the family loves it!

My Lime Cilantro Chicken Breasts require just 3 main ingredients and spices you probably already have in your spice rack.  The chicken breasts are sliced as thin as possible so that they cook in minutes.  This summer chicken dish is fast becoming a family favorite.

lime cilantro chickenServe this delicious Lime Cilantro Chicken Breasts with a salad for a light meal or with a side of refried beans and Spanish rice for a hearty meal.

Pan Fried Lime Cilantro Chicken Breasts
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Pan Fried Lime Cilantro Chicken Breasts
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Instructions
  1. Wash chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towel
  2. Slice each chicken breast horizontally in to 3 thin slices
  3. Combine Chili Powder, Cayenne Red Pepper, Salt & black pepper together then rub onto both sides of chicken slices
  4. Heat olive oil
  5. Saute garlic til it starts to turn golden brown
  6. Add chicken slices
  7. Fry each side about 3 minutes or until browned
  8. Add Cilantro and diced onion and toss with chicken until combined
  9. Squeeze juice of 1 lime over all and serve
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Easy Ground Beef Chimichangas

Easy Ground Beef Chimichangas

chimichangaChimichangas are my favorite Mexican dish.  It’s always what I order at Mexican restaurants.  They are delicious!

You may be wondering what exactly are chimichangas.  It’s really nothing more than a deep fried burrito!  I’m not a burrito fan at all, but I’m definitely a chimichanga fan!

Actually you can turn just about any burrito into a chimichanga by simply frying it.  In fact I’ve deep fried frozen store bought burritos.  Of course they don’t taste as good as homemade, but they’ll do when you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table.

Now you can fill chimichangas with just about anything.  Shredded Beef, Chicken, or Pork seem to be the most popular filling.  But I’ve had seafood chimichangas as well as bean filled ones.  One of our family favorites are ground beef chimichangas.  They’re the easiest to make.

I serve them with shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole on the side.  Everyone can add their own toppings.  It goes great with Spanish Rice and Refried Beans.

Today I’m sharing my recipe.  Hope you love it!

Ground Beef Chimichanga

Makes 10

Ingredients:

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

2 Tbs. Chili Powder

1 Tsp. Ground Cumin

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper flakes

1 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

10 Flour Tortillas, the 8″ size

Oil for frying

Toppings of your choice (salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.)

 

Directions:

Place beef in a pan over medium heat

Add all the spices and cook until beef is crumbly

Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese

Place about 1/4 cup of beef filling on the middle of a tortilla, fold in ends and roll like a burrito

Repeat with remaining tortillas

Heat about 1″ of oil in a frying pan

Fry chimichangas until golden brown on all sides

Remove from oil and drain on paper towels

Serve hot

 

 

Ground Beef Chimichangas
Print Recipe
Servings
10 Pieces
Servings
10 Pieces
Ground Beef Chimichangas
Print Recipe
Servings
10 Pieces
Servings
10 Pieces
Instructions
  1. Place beef in a pan over medium heat
  2. Add all the spices and cook until beef is crumbly
  3. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese 
  4. Place about 1/4 cup of beef filling on the middle of a tortilla, fold in ends and roll like a burrito
  5. Repeat with remaining tortillas
  6. Heat about 1" of oil in a frying pan
  7. Fry chimichangas until golden brown on all sides
  8. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels Serve hot
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