thirty years ago I was invited to lunch with a friend of Moroccan origins at her sister’s.
My friend’s sister served us meatballs. When I asked her, between bites, about this insane fantastic taste, they both answered unanimously: “Ras El Hanout”!
The sisters explained it was a Moroccan spice blend which means “head of the store”: a selection of fine spices.
I later learned (the hard way) that not any “Ras El Hanout” deserves this aristocratic title.
It’s not as simple as mixing cinnamon, black pepper, and clove! Even blends with nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom didn’t come close to the smell and taste which enchanted me years ago.
After starting the blog, I browsed the web in search of the secret ingredient – the one that gives that unique umami.
I discovered a spice I never heard about: Mace!
Another search brought up several recipes for Ras El-Hanout, which indeed include the miraculous Mace. Some roast and grind the spices at home, and some add other ingredients such as dried pink rosebuds.
I found an excellent recipe that is easy to make: it uses ground spices, omits cumin, and increases mace.
I finally got an authentic Ras-El-Hanout blend with the delicious smell I was looking for!
This amazing blend will upgrade many dishes, especially “meat” recipes such as Vegan Kebab With Pistachio, vegan no-meat Morrocan Cigars, and vegan no-meat Empanadas.
Yields about ⅓ Cup
- 2 teaspoon ground mace
- 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried pink rosebuds
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- To ground the pink rosebuds: place them in a spice grinder together with 1 Tablespoon of the rest of the blend and grind – this way, it will grind easier.
- Place all the ingredients in a sealed jar/container and shake well.
- Keep in fridge or freezer.
- You can buy a ready-made Ras-El-Hanout mixture (a reliable brand), check the ingredients, and add missing spices such as mace, cardamom, ginger, and pink rosebuds.