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Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Ras el Hanout (JFI – chillies)

Filed under: crossblogging,food & drink,posts with recipes,SiR, JFI,spicy — ejm @ 17:44 EDT

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recipe: Ras el Hanout (ideal spice rub for chicken or pork)

Jihva for Ingredients (JFI): Chillies

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Ras el Hanout

We first became aware of Ras el Hanout when we were reading the wonderful cookbook Patricia Wells at Home in Provence. Along with several other recipes, we bookmarked the one for Ras el Hanout, vowing to try it soon. And silly us, we forgot…

And around about the same time, Haalo (Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once) reminded us about Ras el Hanout and again we vowed to try it soon. And silly us, we forgot again…

This May, Sarina ( reminded us about Ras-al-hanout. And silly us, we almost forgot again…

But recently, after discovering the wonders of harissa, we have been on a craze of Moroccan style food and at last we remembered to try Ras el hanout!!

We looked at several recipes and decided to basically follow Haalo’s. Having never been to North Africa, I have no idea if it is anything like any versions of Ras el Hanout there. But who cares? It’s fantastic!!

I have only one question. Why oh why did nobody remind us about this more often?!

Here is our version of the spice mix:

Ras el Hanout
based on Haalo’s recipe for Ras el Hanout

  • 4 or 5 dried whole cayenne peppers
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander seed*
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon seasalt


  1. Put everything but the salt into a coffee spice grinder and whirl until the mixture is powdered.
  2. Put the spice mixture into a cast iron frying pan and dry-fry over medium heat until you smell the spices.
  3. Add the salt and pour into a clean glass jar.

Store in a cool dry place. Use as a spice rub before barbecuing chicken or pork. This is the idea spice rub to use when serving couscous, preserved lemons, and harissa.

* We buy pre-ground coriander seeds in Indiatown. We used to buy whole seeds and grind them ourselves. But they were often infested with tiny flying insects. The creatures appeared to be only interested in the coriander seed but we didn’t really want to take chances so stopped buying the whole seeds.

Jihva for Ingredients – Chillies

Indira (Mahanandi) writes that, the Sanskrit word ‘Jihva-‘ “means taste, desire and deep longing“. August 2007’s Jihva for Ingredients is hosted by Nandita (Saffron Trail).

chillies We love chillies and use them in some form or other almost every day, no matter what style of cuisine, whether it is Indian, Thai, Chinese, African, Italian, South or North American. Why tonight, we are having hamburgers (how North American is that?!) and will be slathering coarsely ground blackened chilies in olive oil on the burgers. Yum!!

So this month’s theme is tailor-made for us. We buy our chillies in largish bags in Indiatown (our favourite store is Kohinoor Foods on Gerrard) where the spice turn over is high. The chillies are beautiful, red and hot – the perfect thing to have every day but especially in the middle of the summer on steamy days like today.

Dried chillies are improved by being cooked in oil or dry toasted until they are dark brown: the flavour is nutty and slightly sweet, occasionally with a hint of citrus.

I cannot imagine what we would do without our chillies! Talk about “taste, desire and deep longing”! Chillies really are the spice of life: possibly the quintessential definition of Jihva.

ras el hanout

Today is the deadline for JFI Chillies. If you would like to participate in JFI, please read the following for more information:

edit 9 August: Whoohoo!! Nandita has posted the roundup. Get ready to sizzle!!


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