Friday, December 5, 2014

The Exotic World of Moroccan Spices: Ras El Hanout

One good way to try out the spirit of this exotic sensuous trip to Morocco is to begin looking into the culture. What better way to get into the heart of Moroccan life than to explore the foods and spices. Today we will begin with a spice blend known as Ras El Hanout. Ras El Hanout, which means the best of the shop, is a complex, aromatic spice blend.

Most Ras El Hanout recipes include cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, various peppers, and turmeric, but 30 or more ingredients could be used and like most good ethnic spice blends every family has their own particular take on the matter. So there is no one true recipe only variations on the theme. Typically the blend is prepared by grinding together whole spices, dried roots and leaves. And if you have spices in their whole form on hand by all means do this as it will give you a deeper, richer flavor. But, if you don't keep things simple by using ground spices. In this case I used some whole spices, which I ground in a coffee grinder, and some already ground spices. This spice blend is used by some Moroccans in daily cooking, while others reserve it for specialty dishes. tomorrow I will give you a recipe for a lovely pumpkin and chickpea soup using this warming spice blend.
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
Blend all of the spices in a bowl. Transfer to a glass jar, and store in a dry, dark place.
Use Ras El Hanout to season tagines, stews, soups and vegetables. It keeps well for several months.

No comments: