Ethiopian

CHICKPEAS AND KALE WITH BERBERE

CHICKPEAS AND KALE WITH BERBERE

My Dad, who was visiting for two weeks, was scouring the supermarket for his favourite hot smoked paprika. While in the spice isle I notices a small box of Berbere spice mix. Of course I had to have it. Before I buy any spice mix I check the ingredients, anything that has MSG is quickly discounted as are any spice mixes that are padded up with ingredients that shouldn’t be there are rejected too. My berbere mix had nothing sinister in it.

How surprised I was when, after opening the metal box, I found a beautiful concoction of whole spices that hit my nose with an intoxicating heady fragrance. Berbere is a punchy spicy mix from Ethiopia. It always contains chillies and array of fragrant spice. As with most spice mixtures there are variations but mine, apart from chilies, contained black pepper, cumin, coriander, fennel, cloves, allspice, ajwain seed, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg.

Berbere spice mix
berbere-spice

One spice I admit was totally new to me, the ajwan seed. Of course I had to look it up. Ajwain seed is common in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine and comes from the same family as carrots, fennel and dill. Ajwain is believed to increase digestive function, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. In India it is used to ease asthma and as an ingredient in cough remedies.

I used my berebere to spice up chickpeas and kale that made a perfect topping for a baked potato. I only had white potatoes in my vegetable box but the spiciness would go beautifully with a baked sweet potato. I put 2 teaspons of berbere in my mix, the result was spicy but not blow your head off. The spicy hit of the chillies seems to be eased by the rest of the gorgeous spices.


berberechickpeakale

CHICKPEAS AND KALE WITH BERBERE

Serves 4 as a baked potato topping, 2 if served alongside grain

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp berbere spice mix
1 large tomato, peeled, deseeded and chopped
1 Tbs tomato puree (paste)
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
200 g kale, tough stalks removed, leaves shredded

  1. In a frying or saute pan (you need a larger one to accommodate the kale later) heat couple tablespoons of water. (you can use 1 Tbs oil if you wish)
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute on medium heat until soft. Add more water if the vegetables start sticking.
  3. Next add the berbere and stir around, saute for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomato to the pan and cook for about 5-10 min until softened.
  5. Add in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 min.
  6. Next add in the chickpeas and about 100ml (under 1/2cup) of water. Cook for 5 min until the sauce thickens.
  7. Add the kale in and stir it into the sauce. Cook until tender, about 10 min. Add more water if the mixture seems too dry.
  8. Serve over baked white or sweet potato, or over some brown rice or other grain.

0 Comments