Ras el hanout, which translates literally as "head of the shop", originated in the Meghribi villages of North Africa. It is a complex and distinctive mix of about 20 to 27 spices and herbs, the quantities of which vary according to the maker. Specific quantities are a much guarded secret from one spice shop to the next, and blending is considered an art. Ras el hanout is used with poultry, meat, game, rice and couscous. It can be found already mixed, like in specialty stores. If you are unable to find it, here is a simple recipe for you to make your own.

Makes

Preparation

10min

Skill level

Easy
By
Average: 3.2 (50 votes)

Ingredients

  • 1½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cardamom seeds
  • ¼ tsp hot paprika
  • 4 whole cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Makes 2 tbsp

Grind all the ingredients together with a mortar and pestle.

Use as instructed in recipes.

Hassan M’Souli is the chef at Sydney’s Out of Africa Restaurant and the author of two cookbooks, the latest being Make It Moroccan.