Ras El Hanout: Moroccan Spice Blend

Ras El Hanout is a blend of aromatic, sweet and hot spices…the name is Arabic for “head of the shop” and each shop has its own signature mixture of the best spices the seller has to offer. There is not one particular blend but an intricate combination of up to 50 spices. Why have I chosen the following blend?? Because it was interesting, not so complicated, and had some ingredients that intrigued me…such as cubeb peppercorns and dried rosebuds that I have never cooked with before…and also green cardamom pods, which to me has the most divine aroma and added taste to all cuisines…adapted from a delicious cookbook, The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert.

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Cinnamon sticks at the top
Top row: cubeb peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, dried rosebuds
Bottom row: mace blades, whole cloves, powdered nutmeg, turmeric, ginger and cardamom pods

Ras El Hanout
1 tbsp. each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, and dried rosebuds
1 tsp. each of ground turmeric, freshly grated nutmeg, and ground ginger.
10 whole green cardamom pods
10 cubeb peppercorns
2 cloves
2 mace blades (hmmm, took an outing to find these too)
2 cinnamon sticks

Here are a couple close-up photos of mace blades and cubeb peppers.  Mace blades are the outer covering of nutmeg and have a subtle nutmeg flavour. Mace can be found ground but I enjoy the search for the whole blades.  Cubeb peppers look like large peppercorns with a little stem on them…they have a slightly spicer flavour than the regular black peppercorns but if you can’t find them, just omit them.

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Mace blades are the outer coating of nutmeg and have a subtle nutmeg taste

Cubeb peppercorns have a stem and are larger than black peppercorns

Cubeb peppercorns have a stem and are larger than black peppercorns

 

1. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat until you can smell them and they begin to crackle in the pan.

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See my little tajines by the backsplash?? I will use them in a future posting as salt and pepper shakers!

Grind all the spices together in a coffee grinder dedicated to spices.  I have 2 coffee grinders; you don’t want coffee grounds in your spice blend and you probably don’t want this spice blend in your coffee!

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Freshly ground Ras El Hanout. Aroma is well worth the work!

I will be posting recipes soon that will use this Ras El Hanout but wanted to show you my favourite blend first!

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10 comments

  1. D BEN-REUVEN · · Reply

    What a speciality and labour of love. Lovely blog and photos. You are the best even if I’ll never make it or do things exotic like you but I’m sure Ira would love to do it for himself and his love. I should forward the blog to him??

    ________________________________

    1. I would be flattered if you forwarded my blog to Ira! And if he has any questions/comments he can send them to me! 🙂

  2. Where would you get these spices in Ottawa? Great blog, Jackie sent me:)

    1. hi deidre, i have a variety of stores to find middle eastern and obscure spices. The mid-east supermarket on belfast road at st. laurent has a huge variety of spices. i have done well at bulk barn also, and grace in the kitchen on hazeldean in kanata has been a fun outing for some of the harder-to-find items. good luck!!!

    2. by the way, there are simpler ras el hanout recipes but this blend was just beautiful 🙂

  3. All of these spices can be ordered via the net from penzeys.

    1. I just checked out http://www.penzeys.com — great selection; it is in Wisconsin — I am based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada! I was able to find all the spices locally in various middle eastern and specialty stores. If anyone is having difficulty finding any of the spices I use in my recipes, get in touch and I’ll help you out. Shelley

  4. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was entirely right.
    This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine just
    how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  5. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your
    content. Please let me know. Thanks

    1. Wow, thank you for asking. It is my pleasure to share. Please share with your group! Enjoy! Shelley

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