Ras El Hanout is a North African spice blend, used mainly in Tunisian, Algerian & Moroccan cuisines, and is traditionally made with 27 spices! This spice mix is great in curries, Moroccan or Algerian tajine dishes, in eggs, in soups, in couscous, or used in a barbecue rub or marinade.
My fascination with spices began when I was quite a young girl. We were in the Middle East in the 90s and a trip to the Spice Market or the Old Souk in Dubai was all it took to spike my interest. I remember it like it was yesterday, we were on the lookout for saffron, and my mother wanted it in bulk. So we set out to find this one tiny store in the middle of the Souk (market) that exclusively dealt with saffron.
On the way to this tiny little store, we walked past another store with tall sacks of spices, all filled to the brim. There were whole spices & spice blends to add to your meat dishes or your teas. The aroma of spices filling the air was just magical!
My interest was spiked again when I visited the Mısır Çarşısı, the Istanbul Spice Market a few years ago. I saw this small store selling a North African spice blend called Ras El Hanout. I was curious to know what it was and so I came home and went on a search to figure out what exactly was in this delicious spice blend.
Ras El Hanout (Arabic; means top of the shop) is a North African spice blend, used mainly in Tunisian, Algerian & Moroccan cuisines, and is traditionally made up of 27 spices! Wow! Now that’s what you call a spice mix!
I knew I had to try and make this one at home to use in my curries. So here is my humble attempt at making an extremely non-traditional version of the spice blend.
• 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
• 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
• 2 teaspoons dry ginger powder
• 2 teaspoons dry turmeric powder
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1 teaspoon allspice powder
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon stick (1 inch)
• 1 teaspoon dried rosebuds
• 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
• 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
• 1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
• 1/2 teaspoon star anise
• 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon mace
• 1/4 teaspoon clove
In a pan over low flame toast all the spices until fragrant and golden.
Once the spices have cooled, add them to a blender and blend to a fine powder.
Store the spice blend in an airtight container, away from sunlight for about 2 months.
The spice mix is great in curries, Moroccan or Algerian tajine dishes, in eggs, in soups, in couscous, or used in a barbecue rub or marinade.