This is a version of the classic spice mixture used in Moroccan cooking.
Grains of paradise, called for as an optional ingredient, are hot and pungent West African seeds with hints of ginger, cardamom, coriander and citrus. They are available at specialty markets and through online gourmet purveyors. Ras el hanout mixtures also are available at specialty markets; we found some at Shemali's, 3301 New Mexico Ave., 202-686-7070.
Yield: Makes 1/4 cup
- 1 teaspoon whole or ground allspice
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
- 1 teaspoon ground mace
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1-inch piece galangal (optional)
- 1 piece long, thin red pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon grains of paradise (optional)
Combine the allspice, cinnamon stick, mace, cayenne pepper and the cardamom, coriander and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. Dry-roast for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan often, until the spices are fragrant. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder; add the cloves, ginger and black peppercorns and the galangal, red pepper and grains of paradise, if using. Grind to a powder. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
Adapted from "The Revised and Updated Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics," by the editors of Martha Stewart Living (Clarkson Potter, 2007).
Tested by Annie Groer.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.