"Head of the Shop" Spice Mixture: Ras el Hanout

Sometimes I think I am in a rut when I go into the kitchen.  Have you ever felt that way?  Some days nothing sounds good and the summer heat makes it hard to even think about eating.  I can be inspired though, and that is what happened when I saw a recent post by David Lebovitz for Moroccan Spiced Chicken Skewers.  There was no question what was going to be for dinner.

First, though, I had to make the spice mixture.  The mixture known as Ras el Hanout is common in the Moroccan spice cabinet.  Translated, Ras el Hanout means "head of the shop" and is a mixture of the very best spices that the shop has to offer.  It can be 20-40 spices put together by the shop owner. The blend of spices can include:  cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, coriander to name a few.  The mixture will vary from shop to shop as each owner selects his very best and creates his own unique Ras el Hanout.

The mixture can be very complex or simple. Since I am the owner of this shop, it was a simple mixture of great flavors!  I followed David's link to a recipe from Epicurious and that is what I used.

Ras el Hanout
adapted from Epicurious

1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine all of the spices together in a small bowl.  The spice blend may be kept in an airtight container for one month.

This aromatic spice blend is a familiar mix in Moroccan cuisine. It can readily be used as a rub, in a marinade or as a seasoning in tagines or stews.

I chose to use it as part of a marinade for chicken skewers....it will be in an upcoming post!


  1. Kate, I'm with you on this one! We all tend to get in a rut when it comes to cooking. Love this spice mixture... Totally different than 'the usual'. Thanks and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  2. I never knew what it meant..but I do have some..I love it in couscous.


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