The sun is shining, so, what more reason do you need to bring out the barbeques? Forget about piling your plate high with burnt offerings, add some spice and flavour to your life with a fabulous Ras-al Hanout spice mix.
Ras el hanout or Rass el hanout, is a North African spice blend, also known as ‘top of the shop, as the blend is usually made from the best spices available’. Now there are a multitude of ras al hanout recipes out there, some featuring up to 100 ingredients! However, the main base ingredients are usually coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, chilli and turmeric.
My recipe below uses the main popular ingredients, with just a few extra spices to make the mix magical. This can be used as a marinade, in sauces and stews, or added to couscous for a flavour punch.
Yes, you can buy Ras el hanout mixes in the shops, although for the sake of a few minutes effort you can make your own spice blend and really taste the difference. Try it – you won’t regret it…
Ras El Hanout Recipe
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 3-inch piece of cinnamon stick (cassia bark)
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1?2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1?2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1?2 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1?2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1?4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Generous pinch saffron threads
1 teaspoon sea salt
Place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, allspice berries, fennel seeds, black peppercoms, cloves, and cardamom seeds in a small frying pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, for one minute or until spices become fragrant. Be careful not to burn. Allow to cool. Place all the ingredients into a food processor or spice mill and process until quite fine.
Store in an airtight container and keep in dark, cool cupboard for up to a month.
Marinade Tip: Mix one tablespoon of Ras el hanout with a tablespoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of olive oil and 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Rub the marinade into chicken or lamb. Marinade for 4 to 6 hours (or overnight) and then barbeque. Leave your meat to rest and then sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander – beautiful!