Well known in Morocco and surrounding countries, Ras el Hanout means “top of the shop” in Arabic, which implies the spice seller has selected the best spices he has to offer and blended them into something special for his customers. As with India’s garam masala, the ingredients can vary from shop to shop, family to family and region to region.
Some blends will include up to 30 different (and sometimes weird) spices and herbs. In the past, Ras el Hanout sometimes included cantharides (Spanish fly) for its aphrodisiac properties! Fortunately, the sale of cantharides was banned in Morocco in the 1990s!
My blend only has 8 ingredients, but still has all the layers of flavour you’ll love. Just add a tablespoon or two to tagines, stews or soups or sprinkle over rice or couscous.