Berberé Blend & Couscous with Raisins

It’s starting to get warm outside, and this leaves me craving spicy food. Trust me, spicy hot food in the summer and cold food in the winter. It puts things into perspective. And nothing is worse in the summer than warm, melting, sticky, messy ice cream. Let’s leave that for the winter, shall we? Plus there’s also something about food and regulating body temperature and all that good logical reasoning stuff. And of course, once the heat and humidity actually hit I’m going to be desperately trying to cool down with cold cucumber soup and lemonade. But I’m allowed to be hypocritical on my own blog, right?

Because you dealt with my ranting so well, here’s a lovely treat for you! Hint: It’s the topic of today’s post!

For now, let’s go with spicy and a hint of sweetness since springtime isn’t all that hot yet. I decided it would be fun to make a dish I cooked in my Nutrition class. Our groups were assigned different continents and had to come up with healthy meals that reflect the culture in those areas. My group got Africa, and one of the interesting things I found was an Ethiopian spice blend called Berbere. According to The Congo Cookbook, this is the foundation of Ethiopian cuisine.

I could only find whole anise seed, which was awesome since I love using my         mortar and pestle :)

I used this blend to season couscous, and then mixed in raisins (hence the sweetness), and added some toasted slivered almonds for a bit of crunch.

I just cook the almonds in a pan with a little bit of oil until they get nice and brown, like how you see them on the couscous.

When I was trying to find all the spices so I could make my own bottle of the spice, I had difficulty finding some, and some were just too expensive for me to be able to buy right now. So I just altered the ingredients, and still somehow it came out to be delicious. I’m a genius! I’m also opposed to putting salt and pepper into spice blends, it’s better to be able to control it yourself, so I opted not to include it. And with the couscous, normally the water:couscous ratio is 1:1, but I prefer it 1.5:1, so that’s how I wrote my recipe.

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Berberé Blend

½ tsp. Allspice
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
¼ tsp. Cloves
1 tsp. Cumin
2 tsp. Anise
½ tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Ginger
3 Tbsp. Paprika
1 Tbsp. Cayenne
¾ tsp. Cardamom (optional)
½ tsp. Coriander (optional)



Berberé Couscous with Raisins

1 Tbsp. Olive oil
½ Onion, diced
1 Tbsp. Berberé Blend
1 ½ cups Chicken Broth
¾ cup Raisins
1 cup Whole wheat couscous
Salt and Pepper to taste
Slivered, toasted almonds for garnish

In a medium sized pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until tender. Add the Berbere Blend and cook about 1 minute. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in raisins and couscous, cover and let sit 5 minutes or until broth is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, and top with almonds.

Spicy, sweet, soft and crunchy. And also still tastes good when it’s cold! Is this a winner? Um….yeah it sure is. Duh  :)


Up next: I’ll make a Berbere marinated chicken with some sort of Berbere coconut sauce concoction! It’s going to be delicious! (Well, at least I hope it is since it’s what I plan on having for dinner…)