Throughout my recent history I’ve resorted to food as my way to taste the world. I’ve never really left the Northeast, and honestly I rarely even leave my house. Ras el Hanout is an essential seasoning blend that means “top of the shop.” A super secret Moroccan weapon, home cooks and restaurateurs alike guard their secret blend as their own unique flavor combination. Flipping through my copy of Well Fed, I stumbled upon this recipe… yesterday. The kinky description really piqued my interest. An aphrodisiac? Pfft, yeah right. I figured why not, garlic and hot sauce can take a back seat for once. Although it might not get your motor running, I’m sure that it definitely wont hurt. This earthy, sultry and aromatic blend smells like hot-love in a jar. A house blend for the African cook, this creation is seasoning salt’s sexier, exotic sister. A rich musky aroma makes this spice blend perfect for rich meats like lamb, vivid enough to make chicken and potatoes sing. Traditionally a large amount of separate seasonings and spices, this basic blend is flavorful enough to kick you in the face, but simple enough to kiss your boo boo afterwards. Plus it will not bankrupt you at the spice shop. (A huge bonus for me seeing that I’m cheap.)
Ras el Hanout, Moroccan Spice Blend
According to Wikipedia the usual combination includes cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, and peppercorn. This is not just another curry-type blend, (as I was anticipating) it absolutely is unique. For me an eclectic pantry of flavors is key to maintaining a healthier diet lifestyle. Although I probably could eat sushi and burgers every night of the week, chicken and fish have a tendency to bore the piss out of me. This would be spectacular on vegetables, light fish or even shrimp or steak. Next time I might tweak and add garlic powder and cardamom. (Because I LOVE cardamom) Aside from that this really is a golden goose. Use fresh ground spices if available, specifically pepper and nutmeg. I find ready-ground pepper and nutmeg to be bitter, bland and GROSS! I use a mortar and pestle. Its a labor of love but worth the effort. If you have weebles enlist them to be spice monkeys. My boys especially love smashing stuff. So why not? Hulk Smash Spices!
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container. Using fresh spices make this extra-special.