Ras el Hanout is hard to describe. A floral fragrance, a spicy kick and subtle nuances within an overall robust flavor. It is extremely versatile, adding a golden colour and an aromatically enticing flavor to chicken and vegetable tagines. Add a half teaspoon to a cup of rice or couscous while cooking to transcend the ordinary, and it’s our favorite as a spice rub for grilled lamb chops.
Ras el Hanout is a traditional Moroccan spice blend. It translates to “head of shop”, so it really means its top-shelf. These spice dealers would mix together the best spices that they had on hand to create aromatic delicious blends. These blends were never really the same, as it depended on what they had on hand at the time, and sometimes these blends were over 50 spices!
Ras el Hanout is to Morocco what Garam Masala is to India. It is not considered a spicy blend, but more of a warm pungent blend. It is a blend, so it is commonly used as a marinade or dry rub for different meats or vegitables. As mentioned before, depending on where you go in the region, or around the world for that fact, no two Ras el Hanout’s will taste the same. Unlike Garam masala which is used in every day cooking, Ras el Hanout is typically used in specialty dishes.
Most Ras el Hanout spices include cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, various peppers, and turmeric, but also have a varriaty of over 20 or more spices sprinkled in there. Typically, the spice is made from you freshly grinding the spices, leavs and roots together, but if you dont have those around, then using pre packaged ground spices will also work. It really is a delicasy and should be attempted to cook at least once in your life.
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