Inside the Spice House - Ras el Hanout
Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Ras el Hanout is a spice blend commonly used in North African cooking, especially in Morocco, where the food is cooked in a Tagine, the traditional cooking pot. The name in Arabic translates to ‘the head of the shop’ and literally refers to the best spices the shop / house has to offer. Each shop would typically have its own unique and often secret blend! Including exotic spices such as cardamom, clove, nutmeg, mace, all spice, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorn, turmeric and more. Whilst these spices bring deliciously sweet and aromatic flavours to the food, they are often used in traditional medicine too, with their numerous health benefits, namely:
Cardamom and nutmeg to help you sleep
Cinnamon to help regulate blood sugar
Ginger and turmeric to help boost the immune system as well as provide anti-inflammatory properties
Discover the sweet aromatic flavours of this Ras el Hanout spice and herb blend by trying some of our favourite recipes!
Ras el Hanout Couscous
500 g couscous
1 red onion (finely diced)
¾ cup dates (chopped)
½ cup dried apricot (chopped)
½ cup raisins
¼ cup fresh coriander (chopped)
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon ras el hanout Spice&Easy blend
1 tablespoon Spice&Easy sumac
home-made vegetable stock, sufficient for cooking the Couscous (optional)
Place the couscous in a bowl, pour in the sesame seed oil and Ras el Hanout. Stir well by hand until all grains are coated in oil – this will help prevent the couscous from clumping.
Pour boiling chicken / vegetable stock into the bowl, sufficient to cover the grains + 1cm. Add the raisins at this stage and stir. Cover the bowl to keep the steam inches Wait 5 minutes and stir with a fork to loosen the grains.
Once the couscous is cooked and cooled, stir in the remaining ingredients except the Sumac and enough of the coriander to garnish.
Garnish with sprinkled sumac and finely chopped coriander.
Ras el Hanout Roasted Potatoes
500 g white potatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons ras el hanout Spice&Easy blend
Preheat the oven to 425F/220C/Gas mark 7.
Peel and cut potatoes in half and boil until ‘al dente’. Make a dressing by mixing the juice of one lemon, garlic and Ras El Hanout. In a hot oven, pre-heat oil in a baking tray.
Once par-boiled, drain the potatoes in a colander and toss the potatoes to encourage a fluffy outer. Place the potatoes in a mixing bowl with the dressing and ensure that the potatoes are covered. Transfer the potatoes into the hot tray and roast for 25 minutes.
Spice Chickpea Fritters
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)
⅓ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup scallions
1 large egg
⅓ cup whole wheat panko
1 tablespoon Ras El Hanout Spice&Easy blend
½ teaspoon salt
Oil (for frying)
Place chickpeas in a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash chickpeas until almost all the chickpeas are broken down. There should be some variation in textures. Stir in the remaining ingredients and let sit while skillet is heating.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Divide the chickpea mixture into 8, ½” thick patties. Place in the hot oil and cook until crisp and golden, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Serve as topping for salads or on their own sprinkle with feta/parsley.