Ginger(Skinjbir) Ginger is commonly used as a cooking spice throughout the world. In Morocco it a key ingredient in Ras El Hanout: The Secret Ingredient in Moroccan Cooking; Lifting Chicken and Vegetables from the Ordinary to the Sublime. Ras El Hanout literally translates as “top” or “head of the shop,” and, as the story goes, it is a blend of as many as 100 exotic spices. It is a mixture that represents the peak of the spice blender’s art—hence its name. (In Ethiopia “ras” is a title for “king.”) Usually it is made with fewer than 100 or even 40 spices—that are expertly combined to produce a nuanced blend in which no single spice predominates. The ginger plant has a long history of cultivation, known to have originated in China and then spread to India, Southeast Asia, North Africa, and the Caribbean. Ginger contains up to three percent of an essential oil that gives it fragrance.