Ras el Hanout, which is Arabic for “head of the shop,” is a spice mix often used as a rub for meats, especially lamb and goat in North Africa and the Middle East. Every spice shop, every restaurant, every home has its own recipe, and it can contain dozens of ingredients. This version contains all the usual suspects. Some recipes use saffron and rose petals, but I think they will just get lost, and saffron is the most expensive food in the world.
It is also used as an ingredient in sauces and marinades, and to flavor rice or cous cous. Some say it is an aphrodisiac. Let me know if it works for you.
Since there is no salt in this recipe, (click here to read why our rub recipes do not have salt), salting the meat first is a must. This process is called dry brining. Salt will penetrate deep into meat so you should get it on in advance, perhaps overnight. The rest of the spices and herbs cannot penetrate very deep, so the rub can go on anytime, even just before you start cooking. The general rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon Morton Coarse Kosher Salt per pound (453.6 grams) of meat (don’t include bone, and ribs are about half bone).
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground cayenne or chipotle pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cubeb berries
About the salt. Remember, Morton's coarse kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Mix and store in an airtight jar in a dark place. Before you use it, salt the meat, then put the spices in a small frying pan over a medium heat, no oil, and toast the mix for no longer than a minute. Turn off the heat the moment it becomes highly aromatic. This is called blooming the spices and helps pull the aromatic oils to the surface. Use it generously, but not thickly. It is great on grilled meat, but you can also use it on stew meat or braised meat if you brown it first.