Ras-el Hanout is a North African spice blend that is traditionally made out of the merchant’s best spices. It is usually added to savoury dishes, meat or fish, stirred into couscous or rice, but I believe it to be delicious with all the things, especially soups and winter or spring vegetables. There is no definitive composition of spices that makes up ras-el-hanout, but it actually is up to every family, shop and merchant to choose from all their spices; however, if you’d fancy a little precision and do not like the unknown, here are the fourteen usual spices it consists of: cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, coriander seed, ginger, allspice, chill peppers, nutmeg, mace, peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek and turmeric.
It’s a red-gold powder, which actually is quite sweet but can really be sprinkled on top of everything. If you do not know what to do with a few rotting vegetables, a pumpkin or even some Kale (sprinkle some ras-el hanout on top before placing them in the oven and you’ve got your crispy snack covered), this spice blend is the perfect addition to bring those to a brand new level.
I absolutely love discovering new tastes, flavours and combinations, and I find that soups actually are the best way to experiment because there’s always a way to correct them and change their taste if you’re not quite fond of it in the first place (except if it is too salty…what a waste). The first spoonful will taste a little curious, in the sense that mixing aniseed and ras-el hanout to carrots will give them a much sweeter taste, but since it’s well balanced with the other spices and the salt, it all melds together and ends up being a tastebuds feast. The spices all start hanging out together. The coconut milk reminds you that creaminess is life. And the crushed pistachios gently poke you every so often with a “hello, my name is CRUNCHY!”. This soup is synonym with satisfaction. And satiety. And what’s even better is that you can use the leftovers as a sauce with rice and roasted vegetables! You’re welcome.
Spicy Carrot Soup w/ Crushed Pistachios
Portions: 3 portions.
Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour.
- 850 – 1kg of carrots, peeled and chopped in small squares
- 2 yellow onions, finely minced
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- 2 tsp of Ras-el Hanout
- ½ – 1 tsp of chilli powder
- 1 tsp of aniseed
- 1,25 litre of vegetable stock, heated
- Salt & pepper
- 250ml of coconut milk + some more to serve
- Olive oil, to serve
- Crushed Pistachios or any type of nut or seed, to serve
(1) Prepare all the ingredients as indicated above. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan, parachute the minced onions and brown for about 3 minutes on medium to high heat.
(2) Add the spices and brown for about one to two minutes more, before adding a little glass of water. Let simmer and evaporate, before adding the chopped carrots to the saucepan.
(3) Stir and let cook for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper, cover and let simmer for about one hour on low to medium heat.
(4) When the carrots are tender, stir the coconut milk in, mix or blend to obtain a smooth, silky and delectable looking orange soup.
(5) Serve in nice bowls, top with a little coconut milk, some olive oil, a few crushed pistachios or seeds. Enjoy!