Spice blends like shawarma from Pereg can help when you start running out of ideas on how to flavor your food. We were sent some to try, and we turned them over to Uncle Smokey. This review is based on interviewing him.
(Legal note – this post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, the non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few cents at no additional cost to you.)
Variety is the Spice of Life
Uncle Smokey says, “Growing up, I knew of 3 spices – salt, pepper, and onion powder. Once I went out on my own and started tasting food made with creativity, I was hooked on flavors. Now I have close to 40 different herbs and spices in my cupboard. Why so many? Because sometimes you simply need a few allspice berries or some fenugreek seed.” He goes on to add, “And if it’s one thing I never get tired of, it’s variety.”
Ready-Made Blends – They can save the day! (It’s their super power.)
What if you don’t want to have 40 jars of spices overflowing your cupboard? You can find some delightful ready-made spice blends to capture a certain style of cooking. Many people have heard of zah’tar, a blend popular in the Middle East that generally features oregano, thyme, savory, sumac, and toasted sesame seed. A blend like this is handy to have around and use on many sorts of food. Pereg does offer a zah’tar blend.
Don’t Stop With Zah’tar
There are so many other spice blends available in this world, don’t stop with one. Mexican mole blends are popular, but their flavor is not for everyone. If you prefer milder foods with subtle flavor, you might enjoy either of these two blends from Pereg. Both Jerusalem Blend and Shawarma impart rich and savory flavors to vegetables and meat alike.
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Pereg’s Jerusalem Blend combines the flavors of cumin, coriander, allspice, paprika and garlic. It makes an excellent dry rub for grilled or roast lamb, salmon, and chicken. I adored this flavor on chicken – the allspice and garlic combined to make chickien tast far better than the bland meat it is. Pereg, suggests using it sprinkled into burgers, mixed with hummus, or tossed onto vegetables (particularly corn on the cob and eggplant) before roasting.
If you grew up on a remote farm in the Midwest, shawarma was not only not an option, it wasn’t in your lexicon! Shawarma is a style of roasting meat on horizontal spits. It became popular in the Eastern Mediterranean over 300 years ago, and came to our Sonoran corner of the world as “tacos al pastor” when it was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants.
Back to shawarma – the word once referred exclusively to grilled lamb. This was generally spiced with a mixture of cumin, coriander, allspice, garlic, paprika, turmeric, and salt. Quite traditionally, the Shawarma blend from Pereg contains those spices. Not a lamb fan? Uncle Smokey isn’t either but he loved the shawarma sprinkled on the chicken and summer squash. The manufacturer, Pereg, says that it can also be used on chicken, beef, lamb, or turkey.
Blends Make Useful Rubs
Uncle Smokey reminds us that a good rub is a grill chef’s best friend. Rubs seal in flavor, form a tasty crust, add color, and reheat well on left-overs. They’re also easy to use. No need for marinades because rubs do all the work. Best of all, they impart an addictive flavor to everything they touch.
Final Answer – Five Stars!
Tasty. Easy to use. Many uses – not just one. Reasonably priced.
Pereg has been around for over a century, and are famous for their vast variety of pure and natural spices and spice blends, from traditional favorites to exotics from around the culinary world. All Pereg products are certified kosher and are dairy-free and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives. Many products are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO.
To learn to use other savory herbs from our Southwestern corner of the world: Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.
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