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! :)
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