• Turkish Spices & Cuisine: Shawarma Spice, Sumac, Zahtar, Cumin

Turkish Spices & Cuisine: Shawarma Spice, Sumac, Zahtar, Cumin

Published on
April 30, 2024 at 11:48:20 AM PDT April 30, 2024 at 11:48:20 AM PDTth, April 30, 2024 at 11:48:20 AM PDT

At the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Turkey has long been a hub for the trading of exotic spices – resulting in one of the richest and appetizing cuisines in the world. Many dishes are characterized by the mild heat of black pepper, while Turkish spices such as paprika, allspice, and urfa biber impart warmth and a smoky richness.

Turkish Cuisine can vary by region, but as most Mediterranean food, it’s full in flavor and rich in healthy ingredients such as vegetables, herbs, fish, and olive oil. Below, we explore some of the spices and foods that make Turkish flavor complete.

Popular Turkish Spices & Cuisine

Shawarma Spice Blend ››

(Origin: Northwest Turkey)

A subtle blend of spices flavor shawarma, a traditional Middle Eastern meat dish and popular street food. Warm and bright but not spicy, use this spice blend in a marinade, as a dry rub, or mix with ground meat.

Chicken Shawarma ››

(Origin: Northwest Turkey)

With similarities to a gyro, a shawarma is traditionally made with meat slow cooked on a vertical rotisserie and is exceptionally flavorful thanks to a marinade rich in warming and savory Turkish spices including coriander, sumac, garlic, and allspice. Pairs deliciously with another Mediterranean favorite, Tzatziki sauce.

Sumac ››

(Origin: Southeast Turkey)

Grown in southeast Turkey, Sumac is often used in the country’s famous kebab dishes. It’s tart, slightly fruity flavor (with a hint of lemon) and deep burgundy hue also makes a vibrant garnish for fish, hummus, breads, and grilled meats.

Zahtar >>

(Origin: Middle East)

This blend originates from the Middle East. It's commonly brushed with olive oil and added before warming for flat breads/pitas. Also great for hummus and tabouli.

Cumin >>

(Origin: Asia & Mediterranean, but now cultivated in many places)

Cumin is a traditional spice originating from the Middle East. The slender brown cumin seeds have a lingering aroma that is pungent, earthy, and sweet with a hint of peppermint. Cumin is used extensively in Middle Eastern and Mexican style dishes; particularly curries and chutneys. Whole seeds are ground to a powder for use in most recipes.