Berbere is an intriguing blend; I haven’t found anything else at once so hot and subtle.
I think of Berbere as a spiced cayenne; that is, the base is chili (with a fair amount of pepper and ginger) and this is accented (or almost scented) with sweet, aromatic spices (like coriander, cardamom, and fenugreek). Like American Curry Powder or Chili Powder there is no set recipe. While, I was at Portland Spice, I had a customer who brought samples of several Berbere blends to share from a trip to Ethiopia, each one different from the other. The only consistent element really was the chili. The blend that stood out the most to me tasted to me like cayenne and Maggi (that wonderful, MSG laden bullion powder with a picture of a chicken on the box) in a 50-50 ratio.
I’m not a fan Berbere blends with a paprika base. I think paprika is too mellow and tomato-y a flavor. I really believe that Berbere needs the acidity of a cayenne chili, and cayenne is the authentic chili for this blend (according to The Field Guide to Peppers by Dave DeWitt and Janie Lamson there’s a variety of cayenne from Ethiopia called Capsicum annum ‘Berbere,’ another interesting bit of information from the same book, the word Berbere means chili pepper in Amharic).
ReginaSpices chooses the best quality
ingredients available. Below please find a list of ingredients for Berbere
Hand Toasted and Ground:
ReginaSpice shares a commercial kitchen space
with other entrepreneurs and while every precaution is made to ensure
that cross contamination does not occur, please be advised that common
allergens are processed on site. Including: peanut, dairy, soy, wheat,
- 2- 15 oz. Cans of Foul Moudamas* (fava beans- or use dried and prepare them)
- 1 Medium Onion: chopped
- 2 Cloves of Garlic: minced
- Fresh tomato: chopped
- Lettuce (Romaine): chopped
- Scallions: chopped
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2-3 tsp ReginaSpices Berbere (really to taste)
- Crusty Bread (yes, crusty!)
Rinse and then mash the Foul Moudamas with a potato masher (you want them to be a similar texture to re-fried beans) you may need to add water to help the process along.
Sautee the onion, garlic until the onion is clear. Add the Berbere and cook until fragrant (about 15 sec). Add the beans, heat through. If you needed to add water to mash the beans and they are soupy, cook this mixture until the desired consistency (it needs to be thick enough to be scooped with the crusty bread!). Adjust seasonings (you may or may not need salt depending on the brand of foul moudamas).
I like to serve the beans with the lettuce, tomato and scallions on the side (some people add fried or poached eggs) and I give it a hefty drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice.
Use your crusty bread to scoop up the goods!
*You can find them in African or Middle Eastern stores.