Not having used Berbere Spice Mix before, this is the third recipe I have recently made using this ingredient and all I can say is thank goodness that I found out about it as the flavour is so delicious. I have to thank Eat2Healthblog for doing all the hard work and providing me with the recipe for this African Inspired soup which is sweet, spicy, warming and creamy with a rich earthy flavour. Nutritionally, one bowl of this soup provides you with about 4.5 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day so it is extremely healthy as well as being decidedly moreish!
30g garlic clove
260g Banana shallot
20g Green chilli
50g Root ginger
200g Red bell pepper
1kg Sweet Potatoes
Berbere spice mix (approx. 10g)*
Dash of Olive oil or oil spray
130g Dried red split lentils
400g tin plum tomatoes
1.5L Vegetable stock
100-110g Natural Peanut butter
20g Creamed Coconut
20g Fresh coriander leaf
120-160g Baby spinach
Fresh chives (optional)
Blanched Peanuts (optional)
Peel and finely chop the garlic and shallot. Wash, remove the stem and finely dice the chilli. Wash, peel and then grate the ginger. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into 1/2cm pieces. Wash, peel, trim the top and then quarter the carrot. Wash, peel and then chop the sweet potato into chunky pieces.
Heat a little oil in a large, non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Add the garlic, onion, chilli and ginger and gently fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened. Add the bell pepper, carrot and sweet potato. Stir together then cover and gently fry for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Berbere spice mix and stir to coat. Gently fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the lentils and tin of tomatoes and stir; pour in the 1.5L vegetable stock. Stir together. Cover with a lid and bring to almost a boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and cooked.
In the meantime, wash the coriander and remove the leaves from the stem and roughly chop them. Wash and roughly slice the spinach. Wash and finely slice some chives (if using). Roughly chop and/or crush some peanuts (if using) and dry-fry in a pan.
Add the creamed coconut and peanut butter. Stir to combine and melt through the soup. Once melted, add the spinach and coriander (saving a little coriander for garnish). Cover with the lid and allow to wilt (about 1 minute). Remove from the heat; season if necessary.
Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with reserved coriander, chives and/or peanuts.
Refrigerate any leftover soup in an airtight container and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, freeze portions in soup bags. Defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months. When reheating, do not allow the soup to boil.
*Berbere Spice mix can be bought online or in a speciality spice shop. Alternatively, it can be made at home using 1 tbsp fenugreek leaves, 6g ground coriander, 1g ground cloves, 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes, 1/8 tsp ajwain seeds, dash of salt and black pepper. There are various recipes for the spice mix but this is the one suggested by Eat2Health.
I found banana shallots at Sainsburys, but ordinary brown onions could be used in place. Kale or Spring Greens could be used in place of spinach.
NB: All the photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared myself.