Ras El Hanout. Ask Google and it’ll tell you it translates roughly as “head of the shop”, or “top of the shop" in Arabic. Ask us and we’ll tell you it translates as “fu*king delicious". In pretty much any language. With its roots in North African cuisine, the punchy/heady spice mix has some of FFMM’s favourites as the base. Cumin seeds. Cardamom pods. Coriander seeds. Cinnamon quills. Paprika powder. Chilli flakes. Turmeric root. Grated ginger. With these in play, it’s a building block for loads of Moroccan dishes and can contain anything from 10 spices, up to 100. Everyone has their own interpretation of it. One thing’s for sure though - it makes pretty much anything taste better. If you’re smart, you’ll make a big batch, stick it in an airtight container use whenever you feel like unlocking new levels of flavour. It changes (and adds to) any basic recipe.
Stuff you’ll need: (Feeds 4)
600g deboned leg of lamb, sliced thin
Neutral oil (rapeseed or avocado oil work well)
2 x tins chickpeas, drained
1 x handful coriander, roughly chopped.
1 x handful fresh mint, finely chopped to garnish
1/2 cup yoghurt
2 x tbsp tahini
1 x cup shredded cabbage
2 x cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 x tbs cumin seeds
2 x tbsp coriander seeds
1 x tsp dried chilli flakes
1 x cinnamon quill
2 x tsp black peppercorns
1 x thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
1 x tsp ground turmeric
1 x tsp cardamon seeds
1 x tsp paprika
What to do:
1. In a small pan, dry-roast cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns for a few minutes until fragrant. Do not add any oil and keep a close eye on it to make sure nothing burns.
2. Remove from heat and tip into a pestle and mortar, or a blender/food processor. Bash/mix until a fine powder.
3. Add ginger, paprika, chilli flakes and mix again.
4. Place lamb in a sealable plastic bag and tip in the spice mix.
5. give the meat a good mix to ensure everything is nicely coated. Place the bag in the fridge for a few minutes, hours, or (ideally) overnight.
6. When ready, remove meat and allow to come to room temperature. Add enough oil to a wide pan, to cover the base.
7. Over a high heat, cook meat for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring often. Remove and set aside.
8. Reduce heat and add garlic, cooking until softened but not coloured.
9. Meanwhile, mix the tahini through the yoghurt.
10. Add meat back to pan, along with a teaspoon of water and the cabbage. Stir until coated. (Cabbage will wilt almost immediately).
11. Mix coriander through chickpeas.
12. To serve, spoon chickpeas into bowls and spoon over meat.
13. Garnish with a dollop of tahini dressing and fresh mint. Add sliced chillies if you really dig heat (which we do).