Ras-el-Hanout – the chief of the house’s mix

Ras-el-Hanout is a well-known blend from Morocco, consisting of 13 or more (up to 30) different spices

Each shop owner and herbalist has his own recipe, which is top secret. In fact, Ras-el-Hanout means “recipe of the landlord” or “mixture of the chief of the house“. Ras-el-Hanout is used for couscous and rice, for seasoning lamb or mutton, and even for some desserts. In desserts, I can’t imagine this spicy mixture so well and I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. In tajines, on the other hand, I find it excellent.

Ras el Hanout is often used in Tajines

Tajines are the typical North African cooking pots. Traditionally they are made of fired clay, they consist of a lower flat part and an upper, gable-like lid.  In Morocco, they are used to cook stews very slowly over a fire bowl.

Nowadays there are also more modern versions of tajines, which you can use on the stove or in the oven. Then there are some glazed and specially fired ones that even work on a gas stove. And I have even seen tajines suitable for induction stoves.




What is included in Ras-el-Hanout?

As I said, the exact composition of the mixture is always a secret. So is ours ?. But I can already tell you a few things. Our Ras-el-Hanout consists of 13 different spices. Black pepper is an important ingredient, but ginger, coriander and cumin are also essential. In addition, there are some herbs like rosemary, oregano, and thyme. It also contains rose petals as a decorative element.

I will let you guess the remaining spices which are in it. Maybe you smell something special.

In the past, the Spanish fly, which is not a fly at all but a beetle, was an integral part of Ras-el-Hanout. Nowadays it is forbidden even in Morocco.

The Moroccan housewife buys her spice mixture from whole ingredients and then grinds or mortars it at home as needed. But a mixture that has already been ground is definitely easier to handle.

I also use Ras-el-Hanout in cold dishes, for example in this cold couscous salad, the Taboulé.




5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Resting time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Snack
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 people


  • 200 g couscous
  • 650 ml water
  • 1 garlic clove pressed
  • 1 lemon juice only
  • 2-3 Tbsp Ras-el-Hanout
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 to tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3-4 finely chopped mint leaves


  • Mix water, garlic, lemon juice, Ras-el-Hanout, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the couscous and leave to swell for 30 minutes.
    Cous-Cous with Ras el hanout
  • n the meantime, cut the tomatoes into cubes. Peel the cucumber and remove the seeds, grate or cut into pieces.
    Tomaten und Gurken für Taboulé
  • Add the tomatoes, cucumber and mint to the couscous and mix well.
Keyword cous-cous salad


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