Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ras el Hanout

راس الحانوة

If you want to save some money, try making your own spice mixtures instead of purchasing them. Usually, they are easy to make and you already have the spices in your pantry. A few days ago I posted a recipe for herbs de Provence. Today, I am going to show you my recipe for Ras el Hanout, which means "head of the shop." This blend is common in North Africa and can be used in soups or to season meat. It can be a combination of many spices, or just a few, the recipe varies from place to place. One reason I do not like to buy Ras el Hanout in the store is because it has too many warm spices for my taste. I've mentioned this many times before, but I do not like to eat excessive amounts of cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg in savory dishes. It reminds me of pumpkin pie or Christmas candles. The only ingredients that might be hard to find are the rose buds and hibiscus. You can omit them, but I really think they are a nice addition. I purchase mine online (1 bag of each will last a very long time) and since I receive more than enough for my spice mixture, I can experiment by adding the flowers to new dishes. 

As for finding a spice jar, I have a cute little jar that I bought specifically for my Ras el Hanout, but Alea at Premeditated Leftovers shows you a brilliant way to reuse old spice jars, which I fully intend to do for any future spice mixtures!

Ras el Hanout Recipe
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 teaspoons ginger
  • 3 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (go ahead and increase if you are not cooking for a baby)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons dried ground rose buds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried ground hibiscus flower
  • 1 teaspoon anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon allspice

Grind all of the seeds and flowers, mix well and store in a spice jar.

Note: Other optional ingredients to add: nigella seeds, saffron, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cardamom (which I would add, but my store was out), grains of paradise, fenugreek, lavender and the list goes on and on. This spice blend can have up to 50 ingredients! Over time, I am sure I will add more spices. I will post updates if I do.

By the way, I think spice mixtures would make great gifts. Make up a few blends, place them in pretty jars with the recipe attached, buy a few kitchen items and you have the perfect, thoughtful and personal gift.

Tomorrow I will post a recipe using Ras el Hanout! :)

Linking to: Real Food Deals


Alea said...

This can be so expensive in the store, but as I look at the ingredient list I have almost everything except for the hibiscus flower, so I can create this for a fraction of the cost! Thanks for sharing your Ras el Hanout recipe! I look forward to your recipe tomorrow!

kitchen flavours said...

This is very interesting! I have not heard of Ras el Hanout before. Now you have got me interested. Making your own spice really makes it extra special. Thank you for sharing this!

Bonnie said...

I too have not heard of Ras el Hanout before. There are so many interesting things I want to learn. Thank you for exposing me to new spices and techniques. Appreciate your comment on my blog. All your recipes sound great.

Elsa said...

Thanks everyone! Ras el Hanout is common in many Moroccan dishes, so even if you haven't heard of it, I bet you've had it! :)

Georgia said...

wow i had almost everything in my pantry to, all except the hibiscus one. do you know if you HAVE to add that? i wonder if it would turn out ok if not? btw i am you new follower. love your blog!

Elsa said...

Thank you so much!! Nope, you do not need the hibiscus flower. This spice mixture is made so many different ways that you can really play with it. But if you follow this recipe exactly and skip the hibiscus, you won't notice much difference. :)

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