Ras el Hanout
A traditional family recipe from Essence of Morocco.
Ras el Hanout literally translate as 'head' or 'top' of the shop. It fascinates everyone: foreigners and Moroccans alike. It is a very old mixture of many spices, sometimes ten, sometimes nineteen, often over thirty.
The intoxicating aroma is said to have been originally assembled by a nomadic warrior combining all the scents of the countries through which he had passed.
In Morocco the mixture is likely to contain reputed aphrodisiacs, which may add to its local appeal. Each spice vendor will have his own secret blend, varying in price according to the rarity of the ingredients.
Ras el Hanout has traditionally been used in game dishes; at Eid el Kebir (festival of the goat) when mrouzia - a sweet lamb dish containing raisins, almonds and large quantitites of honey is made; and of course in majoun, the infamous hashish balls.
Nowadays it is used in a variety of dishes, marinades and rubs, it goes extremely well with lamb, and is a nice addition to small bread rolls.