There is no definitive combination of spices in the mix. Each shop, company or person may have its own blend which can consist of over a dozen spices. Commonly used ingredients are cardamon, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers, coriander, cumin, peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek and turmeric. To this mix, some spices, particular to the region, may be toasted and added to the blend.
I have been experimenting with Ras El Hanout ever since I fell in love with Yotam Ottolenghi's cooking. I bought all three of his cookbooks and promptly ordered a bunch of spices from Williams Sonoma. Ras El Hanout was one of them. I have already posted two of his recipes, here and here. Lately,with everything that is going on in this house, cooking has been simple and I have not had a chance to dig deep into his books; but the other night I added this spice blend to the chicken kabobs we were having for dinner. We loved it. They were spicy, aromatic and full of flavor. Everything you would dream about in the perfect grilled chicken.
Ras El Hanout can be ordered on several sites on the Internet, including Amazon. As a benchmark, I strongly recommend the blend on the Williams Sonoma website, but have included a simple recipe below.
Before you say anything, I know soy sauce is not part of Moroccan cuisine and neither are Vidalia onions, or tomatoes for that matter, but it works. The world has shrunk and now everything is available everywhere. Let's take advantage of it and bend the rules once in awhile, when and if appropriate. Trust me, this really works!
Accompany with Yellow Rice Pilaf With Raisins And Almonds but substitute saffron for turmeric.
Moroccan Style Chicken Kabobs
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs
1 TB Ras El Hanout
4 garlic cloves mashed
juice of 1 lime or lemon
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB chopped cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Vidalia or Spanish onion
4 cherry tomatoes
1 red, yellow or orange pepper
Salt and pepper
Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. In a bowl mix the rest of the ingredients. Marinade the chicken for at least 1/2 hour.
Quarter the onions and cut the peppers into 1 inch pieces.
Skewer the chicken, tomatoes, onions and peppers, alternating. Drizzle the chicken marinade over the kabobs. Sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides.
Light the grill and cook on medium high until chicken is done. If it begins to char too much, lower the temperature and move kabobs to the back of the grill.
Optional but good: Accompany with sour cream, mango chutney and avocado slices with oil and vinegar. Pita bread can be substituted for the rice.
Ras El Hanout
1 teaspoon ground cumin\
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds\
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients until combined well. Spice blend keeps in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 month.
All photos except #2 Lindaraxa
Photo #2 Williams Sonoma
Lindaraxa has not received payment for mentioning any of the products in this post..