An Angel in the Kitchen is a real food and family recipe blog.
A place to be able to find our recipes again & remember how we made stuff!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ras el Hanout

Ras el Hanout: a blend of spices that has flavoured the dishes of Morocco for generations, widely regarded as the best of spice concoctions & frequently created freehand. The mix can be found at specialist shops. Vetro in Ahuriri appears to be our only stockist in Hawke's Bay or you can make your own with a small collection of spices & a mortar & pestle. Keriann of Sweet Mary told me about this lovely dish & I am so glad that she did! This was my go at making the mix.

 Here is a good basic recipe from Rowan Bishop for Ras el Hanout using powdered spices
1tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsps tumeric
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps ginger
1 tsp coriander
1tsp cumin
2 tbsps paprika
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
Mix altogether well & store in an airtight jar in a cool place.

I like to make a very simple Ras el Hanout using potatoes and my wonderful old ranzware casserole dish.
Place 1 chopped onion in a casserole dish, cook gently to soften in a little olive oil.
Add 3 or 4 diced potatoes (agria are good)
2 tbsps of Ras el Hanout spice mix.
1 tsp good salt & 1 tsp of raw sugar...sounds strange but the little bit of sugar brings out all the flavours.
1/2 or 1 can of diced tomatoes or 6/8 diced fresh ones.
1 can of water.
Simmer gently with the lid on for an hour & a half or until the sauce has thickened & the potatoes are tender. Add more water if necessary.

 this one had olives added to it towards the end of cooking & the little less tomato.
In the winter months the combination of potato & celeriac is really good. I have also been adding garlic flower heads as in the picture..lovely mild flavour, just crumble in.
 This can of tomatoes had sliced olives in it. You can also make Ras el Hanout with chicken which is very good too.

Choko is great with this dish. Serve with a delicious crusty bread.
Choko are very useful & cheap through the winter here & are often grown by Chinese market gardeners. they taste like kamo kamo &/or firm courgette. 
They are also known as cheyote, vegetable pear or a christophene etc in other parts of the world. I must just add that apparently in Aussie slang "He couldn't train a choko to grow up a dunny wall" is used to refer to a dimwitted, incompetent or incapable person! 
I also found the assurance that a choko vine would grow in your old shoe if you put a piece of fruit in there, probably while your foot was still in it! So they are easy to grow. If you have an old car, shed or ugly fence lurking around that you fancy hiding try choko!
Katie X
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