Berbere is an Ethiopian spice blend that is a key ingredient in many Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes. Not for the faint of heart, this spicy mixture usually includes chile peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella, and fenugreek. You can either make your own (good recipes exist on the Internet) or you can buy it online from specialty-food retailers.
Carrot and Red Lentil Curry
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil divided
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 6 to 8 carrots, grated
- garlic to taste
- ginger to taste
- jalepeno to taste
- fresh turmeric to taste
- berbere to taste
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup split red lentils washed
- 1 to 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup chopped cilantro plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
- yogurt to garnish
- 8 to 12 nice sprigs cilantro for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. Fry until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the carrot and stir. Let the carrot “sweat” for 10 minutes.
- In a separate pan, sauté the garlic, ginger, jalapeño, and turmeric in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil for 3 minutes, add a little berbere and salt, then mix everything with the carrots.
- Add the stock, lentils, and more berbere; then simmer for 30 minutes. Add more stock if the pan starts to get too dry.
- Add the peanut butter, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the lentils are cooked through (they’ll break down a little) and the soup is a thick consistency. Right before serving, add the ½ cup chopped cilantro and stir to combine.
- Serve the soup in individual bowls, garnishing each with the yogurt, chopped cilantro, and cilantro sprigs. Serve with rice, naan, or pita bread.