Ras el hanout, is a versatile and beautifully fragrant Moroccan spice blend commonly used in Moroccan cuisine.
The origins of this spice mixture are very old but you can understand its purpose by simply translating ras el hanout. “Ras el Hanout” means “top of the shop” in Arabic, this suggests that the spices used for the blend are the finest spices available in the merchant's shop.
This also means that there is no final recipe for this mix. The most commonly used ingredients are:
Interestingly, ras el hanout shows how Morocco’s historical and cultural background has impacted Moroccan cuisine. The majority of the spices used in this blend don’t originally come from Morocco. Today there can be up to 60 spices or more used in the blend, which means that the recipes differ significantly from a family or a region to another. Some blends might include dried rosebuds or fennel seeds and others some more exotic ingredients such as galangal.
One of the reason I love ras el hanout is because it literally goes with everything and gives a delicious and aromatic Moroccan kick to any savory dish.
Today you can find ras el hanout blends in many supermarkets (in London!) however it is very easy to prepare and there’s nothing like a fresh spice blend.
The recipe I am sharing with you is a basic one - with some of my favourite additions - so feel free to customize your ras el hanout by adding the equivalent of a teaspoon of any spice that will make your taste buds happy!
RAS EL HANOUT
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 10 gr star anise
- 10 gr cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon dried rose petals
• Preheat oven to 150 C (300 F)
• Place all the ingredients in a baking sheet, except the cinnamon stick, whole nutmeg and dried roses. Place in the oven for 15 minutes giving it a good stir occasionally.
• Transfer the roasted spices, about 10 gratings of nutmeg and the dried rose petals in a grinder or a food processor. Process until the spices are finely ground. Sift the spice blend through a fine sieve and discard what's left in the sieve. Store in a closed jar and keep for up to 3 years.
• To make a 'quick' ras el hanout blend, use already ground spices (1 teaspoon each) and mix them together.
• Feel free to customize your ras el hanout by adding the equivalent of a teaspoon of any spice that you like.