Friday, November 13, 2009

Ethiopian Beans and Berbere

I was introduced to this soup or stew or even curry when I visited a local restaurant called Natural Oasis. The restaurant is small but what they lack in quantity they more than make up in quality. It is a farm to table concept that was started by an Ethiopian couple. The chef is a young guy who frequently wonders out of the kitchen to stop at your table and ask how you are enjoying the food. After one bite of this amazing soup I knew I had to find the recipe and recreate it.

This is a warm and inviting "stew" that invites you in and says "sit down, relax, stay a while." You will really enjoy this stew if you like the spices in berbere.

Ethiopian Beans aka Misr Wot
adapted from this recipe at Saveur

1 cup red lentils
4 tbsp. nit'r qibe (Ethiopian Spiced Butter) or unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. berbere (Ethiopian Spice Mix)
1 small tomato, cored and chopped
Kosher salt, to taste

Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear- set aside. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lentils, 1 tbsp. of the berbere, tomato, and 4 cups water to the saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and the lentils are tender, 45–50 minutes. Stir in the remaining berbere and season generously with salt. Serve immediately.

Berbere Spice Mix
adapted from this recipe at Saveur

2 tsp. coriander seeds
1⁄2 tsp. black peppercorns
1⁄4 tsp. whole allspice
6 white cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
1⁄2 cup dried onion flakes
5 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed, seeded, and broken into small pieces
3 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a small skillet, combine coriander seeds, black peppercorns, allspice, cardamom pods, and cloves. Toast spices over medium heat, swirling skillet constantly, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Let cool and transfer to a spice grinder along with onion flakes and grind until fine. Add chiles, and grind with the other spices until fine.
In a large bowl stir in the remainder of ingredients- paprika, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. Store in a lidded glass jar.


Mary said...

What an interesting recipe. I don't have a lot of Ethiopian dishes. This looks like a wonderful addition.

The Blonde Duck said...

So exotic!

Ingrid said...

Hey, Lori! Question... do your children eat everything you cook, do they atleast try it or do you cook something separate for them? I was just wondering. All three of my children like to try different things (not me too much) but Devon, he REALLY loves too and is very adventurous. He'd love to eat at your house.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

This sounds really good, Lori. I've got to try and procure some of the missing spices and make this soon. :)

Grace said...

that's one heck of a unique blend of spices! frankly, my mouth waters just thinking about the party in the mouth this dish would provide--thanks for sharing this exotic recipe!

kat said...

Oh that sounds good! Love the mixture of spices

Donna-FFW said...

Looks like a bowl of pure comfort, a pick me upper dish!! Bet it smelled heavenly.

Amy said...

Wow, just wandered over and I'm so glad I did. I lived in Ethiopia for a year and so I'm a firm believer that eventually you can become hooked on Injera b Wot so I was thrilled to see you've posted on it...what a lovely break down of the spices involved. As I'm in a small city now I don't have Ethiopian food so I may have to crack and make it myself. Your post makes it less intimidating.