Ras el hanout

By Beth Zollars

3 Minute Read

After culinary training I started becoming more serious about exploring spices and the amalgamation of flavors.

One of my all time favorite discoveries is the spice combination – Ras el hanout, found in varying forms in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

Similar to Garam Masala in India, Ras el hanout is used in many savory dishes sometimes rubbed on meat, fish or stirred into rice or couscous.

The Arabic name means “head of the shop” and implies a mixture of the best spices the seller has to offer.

There is no definitive composition, depending on region, family or shop they may have their own blend.

Typically in the blend are; cardamon, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, ginger, chili pepper, coriander seeds, peppercorn, paprika and turmeric.

Regionally, ash berries, chufa, monks peppers, fennel, anise seeds, galangal and orris root may be used. Some ingredients may be toasted first to get the desired flavor.

After my own experimentation here is my favorite flavor combo I use most often. I usually triple or even quadruple the recipe and keep the spices in a glass airtight container. It wills store for a few months.

Here is the recipe.

Ras el hanout

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Create your own flavor combinations and keep experimenting with what you love and don’t get stuck with one recipe! Chicken Tangine is one of my favorites. Try it!

Comment below if you are a Ras el hanout fan, or a lover of other spice blends.