Ras El Hanout
1 lb bag $14.15
Ras El Hanout.
Describing the taste of ras el hanout is tricky, because this North African seasoning not only varies from purveyor to purveyor, but also relies on synergy to achieve its unique bang for the buck. A blend of many different spices, in varying proportions, ras el hanout should warm the palate, with no single spice, no single flavor note taking prominence. Instead, each ingredient should enhance the others’ flavors. You’ll find warming, slightly sweet, pungent, floral and aromatic notes. Ras el hanout is to Moroccan cuisine what garam masala is to Indian curries. Both seasonings vary widely in their spice blends. Both are essential to their cultures. Ras el hanout is essential, for example, to Moroccan tagines, casseroles named for the earthenware crock used in the cooking process. Other traditional dishes benefitting from this seasoning include couscous and the honeyed lamb dish known as mrouzia. But don’t let geography inhibit you. Try sprinkling ras el hanout over good old yellow-popcorn or stirring it into softened butter from the Midwest. Many cooks use it as a meat rub and marinade, as well as a way of perking up roasted vegetables.
Ras el hanout’s history dates back to the ancient spice trade. North Africa was a prime crossroads for all sorts of exotic flavorings that would eventually traverse the Mediterranean and enter Europe. North African spice merchants would reserve the best of these exotic exports and blend them into their own house seasonings. “Ras el hanout” is Arabic for “head of the shop,” another way of saying a top-shelf item. Some historians claim the term also refers back to Ethiopia, where “ras” means king. Thus ras el hanout qualifies as a royal spice blend.
For the convenience of wholesale buyers, we offer this seasoning in 1-pound bags.