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Monday, October 19, 2009

رأس الحانوت‎ Ras El Hanout : Soup Chronicles

Ras El Hanout basically means "head (as in the top) of the shop" for lack of a better term because it's basically all of the best spices one has on hand in one mix up . Everyone who doesn't have an old Moroccan souk handy mixes their own , and there can be a zillion different things in it , including some very intoxicating and illegal ingredients . Most of the blends are closely guarded secrets , but I'm nice enough to share mine . One can add this to meatballs , tagine (in all of it's forms) , couscous , or rub down a roast and you will experience something truly awesome . Even tofu or a veggie kebab will sing (probably "thank G-d I have flavour!) when given a dusting of this magnificent concoction. I periodically alter this , but this is generally the combination .
(Please" , for me , don't use it as a pork rub , no matter if you see it in an online recipe . It's an insult to those who use it daily. )

These quantities are approximate as I use the palm-and-eyeball method

Oh , and don't use all of this in one dish . It won't kill you but I don't want to be responsible if it does. You can infinitely multiply this

1 table Turmeric
1 table Celery Seed
1 table Ground Coriander
2 teas Standard Paprika
1-2 teas Hot (or Smoked) Paprika
1-2 teas Cumin (pre-ground or DIY)
1-2 teas ground Nutmeg
1-2 teas mustard powder
1-2 teas Ground Ginger
1 tea Black Peppercorns (grind if you like)
1 tea chili powder
1/2 to 1 tea Ground Cloves if you aren't going to grind your own
Get out your spice grinder and pulse
1 Star Anise
1 stick Cinnamon
2 Dried Small Red Chiles
1 tablespoon Pickling Spices
1-2 teas Hyssop (Hyssopus Officinalis , available at heath food stores because it cures everything . You could substitute Thyme if you are lazy)

At your discretion , grind a few Cloves and the seeds from a Cardamom and fire it in the brew . I have also been known to put Lemongrass powder , Garam Masala or Saffron into this. If you have Lavender growing around your crib , you can dry it and add it too .

Keeps for at least a month . Do NOT store this or any spice within 3 metres (10 feet) of your stove if you can help it . It turns them wimpy fast .


  1. This is delicious! ...and I DO have Lavender growing!! Oh i can smell the aromas now! Cous cous & lamb are my fav way to use it.

  2. رأس الحانوت‎ Ras El Hanout : Soup Chronicles

    Thanks for sharing


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