27, Jun 2009
Berbere Chana

We made chana masala recently that was pretty good. I also recently tried making berbere, the Ethiopian spice combo, as part of a project to try some Ethiopian cooking. For lunch today, I wanted something quick, easy, and reasonably healthy, so I threw this together. It came out good. A little on the spicy side — the berbere has a fair amount of cayenne in it. I’d prefer to make it milder and add heat if I need it.

One can (14oz) chickpeas, drained
1/2 yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 ginger root, minced
6-8 grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 c frozen peas
2 tsp berbere
olive oil, butter, salt, water

Heat olive oil and a little butter in a heavy saucepan on medium-high. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add the onion and saute until soft. Toss in the tomatoes and peas and saute for a few minutes. Add the chickpeas and toss until well mixed, then add water (I used about half the chickpea can full) and the berbere. Bring to a boil, then turn to medium-low, cover partially, and simmer for a while. When it’s reduced to a nice consistency, add the ginger and a little salt and mix. Turn the heat off and let stand another few minutes. Serve with naan and a little plain yogurt.
Super! Aside from the spiciness, the only other issue is it seems to me like the berbere has faded a bit in just the week or two since I made it, which is annoying since it’s a fair amount of work for just a spice mix. This came out pretty flavorful but it’s like the cayenne dominated the other berbere flavors. I’d probably add more peas next time. And of course this basic recipe could be done with all sorts of combinations of beans, vegetables, spices, etc.