Moroccan food is full of warmth from aromatics that are perfect for simple dinners and joyous feasts. Using traditional spices and your favourite vegetables you can transform any meal into a glorious feast. At my cookery class, the first thing we learn is the use of spices; their different aromas, taste, their differences while whole, roasted and grounded. These form the basis of the recipes we create using seasonal produce for unique inspiration.
How to make your own Ras-el-Hanout spice mix
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One of my favourite spice blends is ras el hanout; a heady, earthy, sweet and floral spice mix much loved in North African cuisine. Translated in Arabic as 'head of the shop'; 'ras' means 'head or top' while 'hanout' means 'shop'. This is a blend of the best spices in the shop, starting with a standard base which includes cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, ginger and hundreds of other spices to make each blend unique.
Making your own couldn't be easier. Use your homemade ras el hanout spice mix in a variety of recipes from roasts, stews, with rice, couscous and soups. At my cookery classes you make your own, use it in the recipes of the day and take your homemade jar home. Try my recipe below to make your own and enjoy endless delicious possibilities.
Roasted Aubergines, Shallots & Peppers with Ras el hanout & Roses
I used my special blend to create this dish which I will share during Mother's day classes this week.
To inspire others, in the comment section below, do share your unique additions to your ras el hanout spices and how you used them to transform your favourite recipes.
Ras el hanout Spice Mix
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
2tbs coriander seeds
¼ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon or ½ a cinnamon stick, crushed
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp crushed rose petals (optional)
a pinch of saffron (optional)
- Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan. Once hot, add your whole spices and toast on medium-low heat. Stir continuously for just a few minutes and take off the heat once they begin to darken.
- Use a spice grinder or pestle and mortar to crush the toasted spices along with the cinnamon stick. Mix with all remaining spices.
- Store in a jar and use in numerous recipes, for stews, roasts and salads.