Anyone who is familiar with Indian cuisine would know the importance of ‘garam masala’. It is a spice mix which is used in most of their savory dishes to bring about a unique taste in their food. Ras el Hanout is of similar nature as well. Although, it has its origins in North Africa but still it is used in most of the neighboring countries. The spice mix has a huge influence in Moroccan cuisine in particular.
What composition does Ras el Hanout follow?
Unlike garam masala, it follows no definite composition. However, some of the most common spices that are used in Ras el Hanout recipe are:
Every shop, company and household will come up with their own ras el hanout recipe based on their taste and availability of spices. For example, some like the touch of the exotic flavors in their ras el hanout spice mix like ash berries, chufa, Grains of Paradise, orris root, Monk’s pepper, cubebs, dried rosebud, fennel seed or aniseed, galangal,or long pepper.
How is it prepared?
Well, the preparation is simple. All it takes is a mortar and a little pounding and grounding of all the spices. You mix the spices as per your taste and liking. For better taste, you may toast the ingredients lightly before throwing them in the mortar .There are many ras el hanout recipes that are available online but to be honest there is no fixed way of doing it. The composition varies depending on the dishes you want to use it in.
Flavors to avoid when preparing Ras el Hanout
Although you are allowed to throw in any flavor you want and ground it all together to come up with your own blend but there are some common practices that are followed. Many do like to add salt and sugar to their mixture but this is not the common practice. All the ingredients that might be used in the recipes are avoided in Ras el hanout recipes. For example, garlic, saffron, nuts, and dry herbs of any kind are avoided in the ras el hanout spice mix. However, there are some European companies who are negating this common practice and adding these flavors to their commercially available blend.
How is Ras el Hanout used?
It is a spice blend which is most commonly used as a rub or as a seasoning. Due to its warm flavors, it is ideal for savory dishes and is used in most of the stews and tajines. It is used in rice and couscous as well to give them a unique taste. Some even mix it with sour cream and butter to use it as a topping in most of their dishes.
The ras el hanout spice mix gives your food a unique flavor. Try it with your stews or maybe sprinkle some on your oatmeal and enjoy the kick of the spices right in the morning.