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Ethiopian-spiced hummus

September 20, 2010

Q: What do hummus and berbere have in common?
A: They are two food items with which I am slightly obsessed.

I’ve waxed poetic about berbere, a complex Ethiopian seasoning, on several occasions. This fragrant, robust mixture of spices is almost like the love child of chili powder and curry powder, with a unique African flair. It’s so distinctive and inimitable that even I will say that there’s truly no substitute for it. It’s completely worth any extra effort it may take to seek it out, and once you get some, you’ll have no trouble finding myriad uses for it. (That is, if you can stop yourself from making batch after batch of misir watt!)

This delightful dip is a great example of the versatility of berbere. Hummus is, simply put, my favorite food in the world. Period, no contest, hands down, without a doubt, no bones about it. Whether it’s traditional, exotically spiced, deconstructed, made with different beans, or even raw, I can never say no to hummus. Someday, when I write a cookbook (!), I am determined to have an entire chapter of hummus recipes. Oh yes! And you can bet this berbere-laced beauty will be among them.

1¾ cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp grapeseed, safflower, or olive oil
2 Tbsp berbere powder
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic
Pinch of mekelesha (or 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper)
Up to 2/3 cup water

Combine all ingredients except water in a food processor or high-speed blender.

Add about 1/3 cup water and blend. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time (up to about 1/3 cup more), and continue blending until desired consistency is reached. (I always make my hummus a little loose, because as it chills, it thickens up a bit.)

Transfer to a small container and chill for at least an hour, then serve with crackers, pita bread, or (if you’re really cool) injera!

African influences collide with Middle Eastern tradition in this smooth and spicy snack! The creamy chickpeas provide a mild base on which to showcase the assertive flavors of berbere and peanut oil, while lime, cardamom, ginger, and garlic form an intriguing backup chorus. This is fusion food at its finest!

Yield: 8 servings.
Per serving (about ¼ cup): 100 calories, 4.3g fat (1g sat), 13.4g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g protein.

If you like this, you might also like…
Misir watt (Ethipian lentils)
A vegan taste of Ethiopia
Indian spice hummus

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2010 12:20 pm

    OK, I thought I was a hummus-addict but you win! Great recipe. I am going to have to try this. 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 20, 2010 1:11 pm

      Hehe! When it comes to hummus, everybody wins 😀

  2. September 20, 2010 12:33 pm

    You can be absolutely sure that I will be making this asap! What a creative recipe 🙂 I love berbere too! I bought some, and then gave it to my sis in law who was visiting from Spain, so no I’m going to have to buy some more just for this!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 20, 2010 1:13 pm

      Yay! I’d love to hear what you think of it.
      And how selfless of you to part with your berbere for the sake of an expat in-law. She’s a lucky gal!

  3. Matt permalink
    September 20, 2010 1:04 pm

    Don’t recall you sharing this with me. However, that’s no surprise as hummus tends to have an incredibly small half-life in your house.

    And don’t think I didn’t notice the alliteration at the end. I’m on to your grammatical devices. >:-)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 20, 2010 1:10 pm

      Hehe, I did too share it with you! Or at least I tried to. Either you didn’t eat much, or you refused to eat any at all, because of all the extra garlic I put in it…how many times do I have to tell you, two garlic-breaths cancel each other out! 😛

  4. September 20, 2010 2:31 pm

    I have never heard of berbere, but I do love hummus! Now I am going to be on the hunt for berbere, so I can make this. :o)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 21, 2010 2:43 pm

      Definitely find yourself some berbere!! It’s one of the most unique and delicious spice blends out there.

  5. September 20, 2010 6:14 pm

    YES! I have all the ingredients for this!

  6. September 20, 2010 6:49 pm

    Must admit, I saw berbere at Kitchen King and almost picked itup because it’s associated in my mind with you, but then I realised that if it’s associated in my mind with you, then you clearly have enough access to it over there in KC! 🙂 I do hope to get your spices to you soon – just have a pretty full on week ahead, so can’t quite pick up the last few things I want for you yet 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 21, 2010 2:47 pm

      Hehe! So thoughtful of you, nonetheless 🙂 But I do have access here, and though it’s not easy or cheap, it’s worth it. The question is, have you gotten some for yourself?!

      No hurry on the bloggie swap; I’m not done gathering goodies either 😉

  7. September 20, 2010 10:33 pm

    looooove the smmooooth creamy way that only a vita can do hummus, way to blend it girl 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 21, 2010 2:48 pm

      YES! The Vitababy was key in me becoming a master hummus artisan 😛

  8. September 21, 2010 12:59 am

    You would adore Israeli cuisine! Of course, hummus is a staple (I was raised on it – oddly, I didn’t like it initially but then by around age 10 discovered the taste for it. It tastes so much better in Israel!) – but Moroccan spices are also frequently present in cuisine there. Because of the diaspora, there are people in Israel who are originally from the Middle East and North Africa as well as from Europe and Russia (I was surprised that many don’t know this) and it would be easy to put those together.

    Thanks for the share – I adore spicy of all kinds too.
    love
    Ela

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 21, 2010 2:51 pm

      I’m certain I’d love Israeli food! All the cuisines of that part of the world appeal to me, and I love the inclusion of multicultural influences like you mentioned.

      (P.S.—If you like Lebanese food in particular, you should check out Taste of Beirut, if you haven’t already!)

  9. September 21, 2010 1:03 am

    Moroccan – I meant Ethiopian – but Moroccan too and all over there…

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 21, 2010 2:52 pm

      Ethiopian or Moroccan, either one makes my mouth water! 🙂

  10. September 21, 2010 6:17 am

    Super yum! I love berebere – but I’m currently out of it. I need to mix up another batch so I can try this!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 21, 2010 2:53 pm

      Ooh, you make your own?! That’s something I haven’t attempted. Do you have a recipe you follow? I’d be interested in seeing it!

  11. September 21, 2010 6:26 pm

    Hi Amber! I love your blog, this is my first comment for you. The hummus looks awesome, you can only have roasted red pepper or garlicky hummus so many times before it’s time for a change, and this is a combination I’ve never seen before! Like you, I am obsessed with cooking in international food styles. My obsession is Japanese food! Thanks for the exposure to a new style of cuisine with all your wonderful Ethiopian recipes!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2010 9:28 am

      Hi, Alayna—thanks so much for commenting! I’m so glad you enjoy my blog. It looks like you’re off to a great start with yours!

      As much as I love all the “usual suspects” of hummus varieties, I agree that it’s nice to have something new and innovative sometimes!

      High-five for int’l-food-obsession! 😀 Not surprisingly, I like Japanese food too, though I haven’t made much of it the last couple years. Maybe that should change soon!

  12. September 21, 2010 6:27 pm

    this looks delicious and the perfect consistency!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2010 9:29 am

      Thanks! I have to give credit to the Vitababy for that one. All Hail Lord Vita… 😛

  13. September 22, 2010 6:33 am

    Your hummus looks so VELVETY SMOOTH! 🙂 You didn’t peel your chickpeas, right? I’ve read somewhere online that the only way to get smooth creamy hummus is by peeling each and every chickpea before blending.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2010 9:34 am

      You know, I’ve read that too, and when I’ve made hummus from home-cooked (rather than canned) chickpeas, I have found that the texture is a tad grainier when the skins are left on. =/ But it’s so much work to remove them! In the pursuit of hummus perfection, though, no task is too tall 😉 Boiling them for an extra 30 minutes helps get them supersoft. I do find that with canned chickpeas, most of the skins are already gone, and the rest are easy to pick out. Double convenience!

  14. September 23, 2010 6:02 pm

    Um this looks/sounds FANTASTIC. I have to make this! I love love loooooooove hummus but have never mixed in those spices. Sounds great!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 24, 2010 7:56 am

      Thank you!! I hope you make it, and let me know how you like it!

  15. January 26, 2011 6:05 pm

    Since my coconut curry hummus has only *thismuch* left, AND I have berbere spice in my cabinet AND I just bought chickpeas….HOLLA!!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      January 26, 2011 6:14 pm

      Sweeeet! Finally, someone besides me that actually has berbere in their cabinet! 🙂

      • Kate permalink
        May 20, 2012 1:23 pm

        It’s a staple in my house 🙂

  16. Kate permalink
    May 20, 2012 1:19 pm

    Just made this after its been on my to do list for a long time. OMG! AMAZING!!!

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