For this weeks dinner we made a Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew from Cooking Light magazine. This recipe calls for berbere — and since we didn’t know what it tasted like, we just had to try it. Berbere is a fiery blend of spices used abundantly in Ethiopian cuisine, with the recipe varying from family to family. It usually calls for a mixture of chile pepper, paprika, ginger, garlic, cloves, allspice, cardamom, and coriander, with key ingredients being fenugreek and hot red pepper.
Initially we wanted to create the berbere blend ourselves, but after researching the ingredients in various recipes and finding out most of them contained over a dozen different spices, we decided to take the easy route and buy a bottle instead. We bought ours online at Zamouri Spices.
Although this dish was super simple to make, it took a bit longer to cook than the recipe indicated. We couldn't help sneaking bites from time to time as the complex spices awoke and filled the air.
Chock full of robust, spicy flavor without being too overpowering, each bite took us on an exotic-filled adventure along the spice trade route back to it’s roman trade origins. For a nice little pucker, we decided to give each serving a zestful kick in the pants with the juice of a fresh squeezed lemon.
Whether you live in a thriving metropolis or a small suburban town, you can take your tastebuds on an exotic flavorful ride with this dish. Magic carpet not included.