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Kora chef/co-owner Morou Ouattara has just launched a line of African spices as a nod both to his youth on the Ivory Coast and to his style of modern American cooking, last sampled at Farrah Olivia, which incorporates African ingredients.

Chef Morou, as he is known to his many followers, answered a few e-mail questions from Y&H about the spices, which will be sold under the Unikeats by Morou label and will be available both in jars and in larger bags. The edited Q&A is after the jump.

Why did you decide to launch a line of African spices?

Morou: People have always wondered where the background flavors of my dishes come from, and I have always thought that Africa has a lot more to offer, food trend wise, than what can be seen on the American market.

What spices will be available?

Morou: We will start with spices I used in my dishes at Farrah Olivia: white melon seeds also called egusi, African tail peppers similar to cubebs, alligator peppers, dried okra powder, smoked shrimp and smoked shrimp powder, and cassava couscous known as attiéké in the Ivory coast.

We will also carry our own label of tea and tea spice rubs.

Where will they be available?

Morou: All the spices will be available at Kora restaurant and on www.morou.com. The spices are available right now at Kora and will be online by January 1. The teas will follow two weeks later.

How much are the spices?

Morou: The jar goes from $3.75 to $5.50, depending on the spice and the pouch, from $8.50 to $16.75. [Y&H note: The full price list is below.]

How do you hope people will use the spices?

Morou: I hope people are creative with the spices. Most of the spices are flavor boosters that can be added to almost anything.

Are you including recipes with the packages?

Morou: Recipes will be included in shipped orders, but will also be found on www.morou.com.

Are African spices available anywhere else in the District? What are the spices best used for?

Morou: Some of the spices can be found in ethnic grocery stores in DC. The blends are best use in sauces, stews, and to season meat, poultry and fish.

Price List:

  • Ground Smoked Shrimp, 1 oz. jar, $3.75
  • Ground Melon Seeds, 1.5 oz. jar, $3.00
  • African Black Pepper (Cubeb), 2 oz. jar, $5.50
  • African Black Pepper, ground 2 oz. jar, $5.50
  • Dried Okra Powder, 1 oz. jar, $3.50
  • Kora Spice Mix, 1.5 oz. jar, $4.50
  • Smoked Giant Shrimp, 4 oz. bag, $9.50
  • Ground Smoked Shrimp, 8 oz. bag, $15.50
  • Cassava Coucous, 14 oz. bag, $8.50
  • Ground Melon Seeds, 8 oz. bag, $9
  • Whole Melon Seeds, 8 oz. bag, $9
  • Alligator Pepper, 4 oz. bag, $16.75
  • African Black Pepper (Cubeb), 8 oz. bag, $15
  • Dried Okra Powder, 6 oz. bag, $12.95
  • Kora Spice Mix, 8 oz. bag, $12.75