Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Raz el Hanout

Ras el Hanout

Raz el Hanout is a North African spice blend. For me, it's pretty easy to get my hands on it. Half an hour away in Cobble Hill is Brooklyn's Middle Eastern enclave or I can take the subway into Manhattan and visit one of our gourmet supermarkets like Fairway or Whole Foods. However, for people in other countries or in Middle America who aren't lucky enough to live in such a diverse city, it might be challenging for you.

When I posted this recipe last week for Raz el Hanout Vegetable Saute & Saffron Couscous, a reader asked me what this tasted like and really it's like a very mild curry powder. Raz el Hanout means "head of the shop" in Arabic. Different spice merchants in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco will each have their own heavily guarded recipe. It's a mixture of a variety of spices and herbs and can include up to 100 different ingredients, many of them only regionally available.

After consulting many sources, I came up with this recipe using ingredients that are more easily attainable.

Raz el Hanout Spice Blend
Yield: about 1/2 cup
  • 1 teaspoon mace blades
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon  black peppercorns
  • 2 dried red chiles
  • 7 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black onion seed
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried rose
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
In a dry skillet, roast mace, cinnamon, fennel, cumin, coriander, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom, peppercorns, onion seed, chile and allspice.

Roast for a few minutes until fragrant. Leave to cool.
Using a coffee/spice grinder, grind with the turmeric, ginger, cilantro, parsley, mint and rose.

I did a raw taste test with the store bought one I had. All I could really taste from the store bought one was the turmeric. In mine, you could pick out the smoky flavors of the clove and cumin and the slight sweetness that comes from the cardamom and rose. The one from the store also had only 7 ingredients listed and was brighter yellow, however it was an American brand. Mine came out the color closer to the ones I see in the Middle Eastern markets.

If you don't have a great Middle Eastern market near you to purchase Raz el Hanout, I think mine will come as a close second!

Ras al Hanout
Here are a few more of my recipes where I've used Raz el Hanout:
Honey Roasted Almonds
Moroccan Lamb Soup

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#37

...linking to Basics, Tips & TricksAfrican Diaspora Recipes & Flavor Up With Spices

Chef Mireille


  1. close first for me...this seems more than authentic...lovely thanks for sharing

  2. very flavorful and spicy spice mix !! thanks for sharing !!

  3. Wow, that is one very flavorful spice mix. Thanks for posting the recipe Mir.

  4. very flavorful n spicy powder...

  5. Wow that looks delicious.Brings back to the time Mom said store brought is store brought homemade is the best. Thnaks I will like to try this out.

  6. Home made is always the best and this one sounds very nice to be added to veggie curried too

  7. That's so new for me Mir, never heard of this, so thank you, it was good reading how to make this..


Thank you for your feedback. All comments are appreciated.
Chef Mireille

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