A while back I purchased Marcus Samuelsson’s book from Starbucks Discovery Of A Continent Foods, Flavors, and Inspirations From Africa. Marcus as a chef had always captured my attention. It’s rare to see a black chef scale the heights he has. His story is a fascinating one I can relate to on some levels. He’s Ethiopian born ,but raised by a Swedish family. Re Mastering Scandinavian cuisine he’s now focusing on his roots with this book which is actually a condensed version/spin off of the James Beard award winning Soul Of a New Cuisine, Discovery of a Continent. Percentages of the books sales go towards UNICEF, which Marcus is involved. Glancing through the book he devotes the first chapter to preparing the various spice blends and rubs found throughout the food of all the African countries. Amazingly most of the components are in our pantries. And why shouldn’t they be? History is rich in the politics, explorations,trading, of the lands of spice routes. The continent of Africa being one. So no matter what your celebrating this holiday season ,a nice spice blend will always be welcome.
Berbere is a spice blend originating in Ethiopia and is a staple in all their households. Its used to flavor stews. Marcus recommends using it as a meat rub as well.
Berbere adapted from Discovery Of A Continent,Foods Flavors, and Inspirations, Marcus Samuelsson
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup dried chilies preferably Serrano
1/2 cup paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Finely ground the fenugreek seeds with a spice or coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. Stir together with remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
After making some , I rubbed boneless chicken thighs with oiled and a coating of this spice blend. I placed them in a cast iron pan and roasted them in the oven. Th chicken blackened nicely and the smell was heavenly. I will definitely use this in my Summer BB Q’S. You can vary the spice levels. I used Passila chilies which aren’t very hot in my opinion. But nevertheless, a flavorful blend.
You can present in your typical decorative airtight jar. For travelling or mailing purposes I like the idea of a lined decorative spice box. Enclose spices in plastic bags and lay out in a decorative box with instructions on shelf life, use , history, etc.