Ras el hanout

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Ras el hanout

Ras el hanout or Rass el hanout (Arabic: رأس الحانوت raʾs al-ḥānūt [rɑʔs ælħɑːnuːt]) is a blend of spices from Morocco but also used in other countries in North Africa. The name is Arabic for "head of the shop" and implies a mixture of the best spices the seller has to offer. Ras el hanout is used in many savory dishes, sometimes rubbed on meat or stirred into rice.

There is no definitive combination of spices that makes up ras el hanout. Each shop, company, or person may have their own blend. The mixture may consist of over a dozen spices. Commonly used ingredients include cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn, and turmeric. Some spices may be particular to the region, such as ash berries, chufa, grains of paradise, orris root, monk's pepper, cubebs, or dried rosebud. Ingredients may be toasted before being ground and mixed together.

In the past, ras el hanout sometimes included cantharides in its ingredients, for its aphrodisiac properties, but use of this ingredient in spice mixtures was banned in Morocco in the 1990s.[1]

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