Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ras el Hanout

For those of you who don't know that I started elsewhere - let me tell you that there are several posts on Lavender, Calendula, Flower Essences and Plant Spirit Healing on my original blog. There you find more recipes using Lavender and Calendula as well.

And that I have a website where some of my products are available:

Today I am giving you a recipe for a blend of herbs and spices called Ras el Hanout.

I start with an explanation of what it is taken from the spice bible, by Jane Lawson. I have started collecting recipes for it and when I travel, bringing home small packs of it, because there is so much variation.

"Roughly translated from Arabic, the Moroccan spice mixture ras el hanout means “top of the shop,” referring to the best spices a merchant has to offer. Perhaps no other spice blend brings out the competitiveness of the souks more than ras el hanout, where it is a badge of honor to make the most sought after combinations.

While there is no strict formula and some recipes can contain up to 50 ingredients including cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, closes, peppercorns, paprika, saffron, cayenne, cloves, dill seed, fennel, and allspice—exotic variations can include hashish, ash berries, monks pepper, lavender, rose petals and the now illegal aphrodisiac, Spanish fly beetle. While the myriad spices in ras el hanout reflect centuries of trade, war, and culinary osmosis throughout the Arab world, the complex flavors combine in perfect alchemy to give an aromatic, sweet, spicy, warm, and fragrant blend unlike any other.

Traditionally the blend is used in Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian cooking to flavor and color soups and tagines, stirred into couscous or rice, combined with oil and rubbed over meat or poultry as a marinade. On a sweet note, sprinkling of ras el hanout over a salad or oranges, mint and dates makes a sublime and refreshing end to a meal."

Taken from the spice bible by Jane Lawson, p. 422.

I found the following recipe interesting because it includes lavender and rose petals.

Ras el Hanout

1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. nigella seeds
1 tsp. allspice berries
1 small piece of mace
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. dried lavender
Petals of 2 scented rosebuds

Grind all the spices together in a mortar with a pestle, or an electric grinder to form a coarse powder. Toss in the lavender and rose petals. Store in a sealed container in a cool, dark place.

Taken from Moroccan: a culinary journey of discovery, by Ghillie Basan part of Food Lovers Collection

1 comment:

rebecca said...

If you ever come across herbs that slow the peristaltic action of the intestines or absorb bile salts, could you please let me know? I have half my small intestine (strangulated hernia surgery) and have to take medicines (tincture of opium and some cholesterol thing)I would much prefer to take herbs I hate using drugs but all the research I've done I haven't come across anything that works. Any ideas would be appreciated!