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Spicy Guide To Ras el Hanout

Each culture has their own unique blend of spices that contribute to their cuisine, and Moroccan food is no different.

Morocco is known for it’s healthy and well-balanced food. Full of veggies, fruit, whole grains, and health boosting herbs and spices - this cuisine has all the best elements!

Now a hallmark of Moroccan cooking, the spice blend Ras el Hanout means “head of the shop” and is very symbolic of Morocco’s history. A country that was crucial in the spice routes trading through the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, Morocco became a haven of quality spices. Because of this, people began to create their own blends to season their food. This quickly morphed into a standard of Moroccan cuisine.

This spicy creation is something that each person makes in their own unique way. While some spices are typically in this mix, it can change based on personal preference.

Common spices to add are black pepper, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Traditionally, a vendor would combine their best spices and herbs in order to make a delicious and aromatic blend. Some versions even have over a dozens spices!

What does Ras el Hanout Taste Like?

Because everyone makes this spice blend differently, they all taste a bit different. The goal though is to strike the right balance between flavors. Ras el Hanout is not meant to be spicy so much as complex.

Ideally, all of these various flavors come together in a unique display of tastes and aromas. Cinnamon and ginger bring warmth, cardamom can lighten it up a bit. Coriander is an earthy and sometimes tart addition. For a bit of a kick, black pepper is typically used because it’s not as strong a pepper flavor as cayenne or other peppers.

How Can I Use Ras el Hanout?

There are many ways to add this spice to your food. The traditional Moroccan dish, tagine, is the perfect example.

Cooked in a ceramic or clay pot of the same name, this dish is quintessentially Moroccan. There are endless possibilities when it comes to cooking tagine as there are many variations that are made with various types of seafood, meat, and vegetables. Because the food is cooked covered, the flavor and moisture is locked in!

In addition to making a typical moroccan dish, you can include this spice mixture on your everyday foods to make the more exciting. Avocado toast with a sprinkle of ras el hanout sounds like a delicious and easy pairing to us. Even adding a bit of spice to some homemade soup or using it as a dry rub prior to cooking your dinner would be an exciting way to spice up your food.

Build Your Own Ras el Hanout

How you incorporate this tasty spice into your everyday meals is completely up to you, but one thing to keep in mind is starting with high quality ingredients. Pick up some of our fresh ground, always organic turmeric, Ceylon cinnamon, and ginger to get started on your unique ground spice blend. Be sure to let us know what dishes you create by posting on social media and tagging #WellSpices & #TravelWithWellSpices

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