Some couples read love poems to each other; my husband and I read restaurant menus.
One of our favorite parts of planning a vacation is figuring out where we are going to eat. I like to ask my facebook followers for recommendations while my husband likes to use Google. We come up with a big list and then look at online menus to narrow down our options.
So when, during the planning stage of our upcoming trip to Colorado, my husband called out from his computer, “Red Lentil Hummus with Berberé Spice,” I knew he wasn’t experiencing some kind of mental breakdown but had found something interesting in one of the Denver menus he was reading. My first thought was, “Sounds good,” and my second was, “I can make that without a recipe.”
So I did. And it was absolutely incredible, if I do say so. I was all out of the berberé that I usually make, so I made up some more, a modified version that is lighter on the cloves and heavier on the cayenne than my old mix. But you can use either recipe or even buy a packaged berberé, and the results should still be divine because it’s pretty hard to mess up red lentils and Ethiopian spices–they just go together. If you like Ethiopian food and you like hummus, I’m betting that you’ll love this recipe.
Berbere-Spiced Red Lentil Hummus
- 1 1/4 cup red lentils (picked over and rinsed)
- 3 cups water
- 2 large cloves garlic , peeled
- 1 tablespoon tahini (optional, but good)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons berberé seasoning (below), or to taste
- salt to taste (optional)
- Put the lentils and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft, about 20-30 minutes. Check often and add water if it seems dry.
- Drain all water from the lentils. Put them and all remaining ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth. Check seasonings and add more lemon juice, berberé, and salt. Transfer to a covered bowl, sprinkle with chopped chili peppers, if desired, and serve chilled or at room temperature.
Berbere Spice Mixture
This recipe makes enough of this complex spice blend to season several dishes.
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground fenugreek
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground sea salt (optional)
- 2 teaspoons cayenne (use more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Mix all ingredients well. Store in a cool, dark place.
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