Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ras El Hanout - Middle Eastern Spice Blend

This Middle Eastern spice mix has no strict formula. Some recipes contain as many as 50 ingredients. My version contains all the standard ingredients plus a few of the more unusual spices. Some recipes also contain lavender and rose petals.

Ras el hanout is stirred into soups and tagines for color and flavor. It is also added to couscous and rice. It is frequently combined with oil and rubbed over meat and poultry as a marinade. It also makes a nice rub for seitan.

If you like Middle Eastern food, like we do, this spice blend will find its way into many recipes. Once you make it you will wonder how you made Middle Eastern food without it.

Ras El Hanout
Makes about 3 tablespoons


2 teaspoons of coriander
1 ½ teaspoon of cumin
½ teaspoon of green cardamom seed, from approximately 10 pods
½ teaspoon of fennel seed
½ teaspoon of black peppercorns
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of paprika
¼ teaspoon of kosher salt
½ teaspoon of powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon of cloves


Toast coriander, cumin, cardamom, fennel and peppercorns over medium heat until you can smell the spices. Combine all spices in a spice grinder and process until fine.


The aroma of cardamom is so intoxicating. I love this particular blend of spices. It is very unusual but also very obviously Middle Eastern. If you have never tried I suggest you make a batch of it to use in rice or couscous. I may use it tomorrow with some roasted potatoes.

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