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Easy Ras el Hanout

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Yields about 1/2 cup

  • by Jennifer Armentrout from Fine Cooking
    Issue 109

This simplified version of the famous Moroccan spice blend contains only spices that are easy to find in grocery stores. Use ras el hanout to add warm spice flavor to any stew, or try dusting it over a rack of lamb or pork before roasting.

  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1 tsp. whole allspice berries
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp. aniseed
  • 1/4 tsp. dried lavender (optional)
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground mace
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne

In a small, dry skillet, toast the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, cumin, allspice, peppercorns, aniseed, and lavender (if using) over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Grind to a fine powder in an electric spice grinder and transfer to a small bowl. In the grinder, pulse the nutmeg into a powder (or finely grate it by hand) and add it to the other freshly ground spices. Add the ginger, mace, turmeric, and cayenne and mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot for up to 6 months.

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made my own ras el hanout last year using the formula shown in the Feb/Mar 2011 Fine Cooking and used it on the Spiced Rabbit recipe which gave it a nice depth of flavor. We may be making a new batch of the ras el hanout this year as holiday gifts. It is a very versatile seasoning.

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