Monday, May 17, 2010

Ras al-Hanout (Moroccan Spice Blend)

To say ras al-hanout contains a lot of ingredients is an understatement.Ras al-hanout is an aromatic Moroccan spice blend consisting of spices, herbs, and roots. It may contain anywhere from 15 up to 100 ingredients. Yeah, you read that right but usually averages about 13 ingredients.Ras al-Hanout loosely translates into "head of the shop" which is such an appropriate name since each spice merchant's blend is unique and contains different ingredients.

A typical ingredient list for ras al-hanout may contain any of the following spices in varying amounts:allspice, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, grains of paradise, dried rosebuds,lavender, nigella seeds, various ground chillies, peppercorns,belladonna, nutmeg, orris root,turmeric,and cantharides (Spanish fly).Ras al-hanout can be bought ready made from Middle Eastern grocers but chances are you may have most of these spices available in your cupboard, well with the exception of cantharides.Here's a recipe for Moroccan ras al-hanout.Use it to flavor moroccan tagines, game dishes,and couscous.

1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. groung ginger
1/2 tsp. ground mace
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried rosebuds, optional
1/2 tsp. cantharis,optional

1. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and blend thoroughly.Place ras al-hanout in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.Will keep for 1 year.
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