Welcome to the next installment of my Meet the Spice Blend series, where I'm sharing the inspiration for, back stories of, and uses for my ever-expanding collection of small batch, handcrafted spice blends. Next up, let's meet Shawarma Mia!!
The Inspiration - Shawarma
Shawarma is a beloved Middle Eastern culinary delight typically consisting of thinly sliced, marinated meat roasted on a vertical rotisserie, and it boasts a rich history and profound cultural significance. Originating in the Levant region centuries ago, its roots can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire and even further to the ancient cooking traditions of the Middle East. As shawarma slowly cooks on its vertical rotisserie, the meat absorbs the flavors of various spices and herbs, resulting in a tantalizing blend of tastes.
Interestingly, shawarma's influence extends far beyond its Middle Eastern origins, with a notable impact on Mexican cuisine. In the 19th century, Lebanese immigrants brought their culinary traditions to Mexico, introducing shawarma-style cooking techniques. This culinary cross-pollination gave birth to "al pastor," a Mexican dish featuring marinated pork cooked on a vertical spit, often served in tacos with pineapple and salsa. Al pastor's unique fusion of Lebanese and Mexican flavors is a testament to the enduring legacy and global influence of shawarma, showcasing how culinary traditions can evolve and flourish in new cultural contexts.
Shawarma Mia! is my ode to shawarma and its influence on world cuisine. It is a carefully crafted blend of garlic, pepper, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, kosher salt, arbol chile, and oregano.
Flavor Profile - Shawarma Mia!
Shawarma Mia! is an aromatic blend that boasts a complex and harmonious flavor profile, combining the robust earthiness of garlic and allspice with the warm, sweet notes of cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The addition of cloves lends a hint of subtle pungency, while kosher salt provides balance and depth. For those seeking a hint of heat, arbol chile adds a gentle kick, while oregano contributes a fresh, herbaceous undertone. With its diverse and carefully balanced ingredients, Shawarma Mia! elevates any dish to a symphony of savory, spicy, and exotic flavors that are sure to delight the palate. Whether you're marinating meats, seasoning vegetables, or adding a pinch to your favorite sauces, Shawarma Mia! brings the essence of Middle Eastern cuisine to your kitchen with every sprinkle.
Versatility in the Kitchen - Shawarma Mia!
Shawarma Mia! is a versatile spice blend that can elevate a wide range of dishes in your home cooking. Here are some suggestions:
1. Marinated Chicken or Lamb: Create your own shawarma experience without the vertical rotisserie with this recipe for Shawarma Mia! Kabobs.
2. Roasted Vegetables: Toss your favorite vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of Shawarma Mia! before roasting. The spices will infuse the veggies with warmth and depth.
3. Hummus: Add a pinch of Shawarma Mia! to your homemade or store-bought hummus for a unique and zesty twist on this classic dip.
4. Rice Pilaf: Spice up your rice pilaf by incorporating Shawarma Mia! into the cooking liquid. It'll impart a rich and exotic flavor to the dish.
5. Soups and Stews: Enhance the depth of flavor in your soups and stews by stirring in Shawarma Mia! during cooking. It works particularly well in lentil soups and hearty stews.
6. Roasted Nuts: Coat mixed nuts with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of Shawarma Mia!, then roast them in the oven for a spiced-up snack.
7. Couscous or Quinoa: Add Shawarma Mia! to your couscous or quinoa while cooking for an easy way to introduce a burst of flavor.
8. Salad Dressing: Create a unique salad dressing by blending Shawarma Mia! with olive oil, lemon juice, and a touch of honey. Drizzle it over your greens for an exotic salad experience.
9. Tofu or Tempeh: For a vegetarian or vegan option, marinate tofu or tempeh in Shawarma Mia! and pan-fry or bake until crispy and flavorful.
10. Potato Wedges: Sprinkle Shawarma Mia! over potato wedges before baking for a delicious side dish or snack.
11. Yogurt Dip: Mix Shawarma Mia! into plain yogurt to create a flavorful dip for pita bread, veggies, or as a sauce for grilled meats.
Shawarma Mia! can be quite potent, so start with a small amount and adjust to your taste preferences. With these creative ideas, you can explore the wonderful world of Middle Eastern flavors right in your own kitchen.
Ready to get your own Shawarma Mia? Get it here.