Availability of certain ingredients, a craving for something different and a kid’s cribbing about eating the same roti for days let me to creating this Tagine recipe. The dish was a huge hit and the whole family couldn’t stop raving about it. An essential part of the recipe asked for an exotic blend of sweet and savory spice blend called Ras- El- Hanout. With North African roots the name itself literally means “head of the spice shop”, this spice blend is a quintessential part of my spice rack now sitting next to my jars of freshly made garam masala and tandoori mix.
When winter approaches I find myself reaching out Ras- El- Hanout more than usual because the earthiness and warmth of the spices in the blend gives not just one but several new dimensions to my soups, stews and even rice dishes. Best part about it is that there’s not one ingredient in it that cannot be found in my Indian spice pantry at any point of time. Something true with most spice blends every home has their own version, some spices here, some there. You can also play around with the quantities. Add a bit of more of the spice you like but ginger and pepper should be dominant here. Sharing with you my version of Ras-El-Hanout.
2 teaspoon whole coriander seds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn
4-5 green cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon paparika
3-4 dried red chili or 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Toast whole spices on a skillet until they start to perfume. Turn off the heat. Allow it to cool. Using a spice grinder, grind all the spices into a coarse powder. Store in airtight container in dry cool place.