Ras el hanout
About Ras el hanout
Wikipedia Article About Ras el hanout on Wikipedia
Ras el hanout (رأس الحانوت), also called Moroccan seasoning, is a popular blend of herbs and spices that originated in Morocco and used in other parts of North Africa. The name means in Arabic "top of the shop", and refers to a mixture of the best spices a seller has to offer.
There is no set combination of spices that makes up ras el hanout, but most versions contain over a dozen spices, including cardamom, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground chili peppers. Some recipes include over one hundred ingredients, some quite unusual, such as ash berries, chufa, Grains of Paradise, orris root, Monk's pepper, cubebs, dried rosebud, and the potentially toxic belladonna and Spanish fly (however the sale of Spanish fly has been banned in the spice markets of Morocco in 1990s). Usually all ingredients are toasted and then ground up together. Individual recipes are often improvised.
Ras el hanout is used in B'stilla, the Moroccan chicken and almonds pie, and sometimes rubbed on meats or stirred into couscous or rice. It is often believed to be an aphrodisiac.