Suugo is what Somali’s call their pasta sauce. They of course inherited the love of pasta from the Italians who once colonized part of Somalia. This dish is called Baasta iyo Suugo, basically pasta with sauce. What is special about Somali Suugo is the use of a spice blend called Xawaash pronounced hawaaj. It adds a lovely earthiness to the sauce. I have the recipe on the site for the spice blend linked below or if you don’t want to make your own, you can purchase xawaash here.
Okay, I am sure you see that banana on the plate, strange I know. Somali’s eat banana with all sorts of unexpected foods like rice and stews. They typically take a bite of banana with what ever else they are eating in this case, suugo. It is fantastic, it completely balances the flavors of the pasta dish and sauce with just the perfect amount of sweetness. Somali’s also squeeze the juice of a lime over the dish as well. You get the picture sweet, savory, sour a perfectly balanced dish. I really loved this and I hope you do too.
It was also served with muufo, a lovely Somali bread which was perfect for sopping up the suugo. You could also serve the suugo over a mashed sweet potato if you aren’t eating pasta.
Did you know that they have a saying in Somalia that they don’t trust you if you don’t use a red onion? It’s true and so be sure to use a red one when you make suugo.
If you would like to learn more about Somalia, be sure to check out “Our Journey to Somalia. There you will also find more authentic recipes including the Xawaash you need for the Suugo. Also, you are sure to enjoy other recipes like Somali Salad and Kac Kac
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Suugo (Somali's Pasta Sauce)
- 1 medium Red onion diced
- 1/2 Green Bell Pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 lb. beef cut into small cubes
- 1 14 oz (0.53 kg) can Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Xawaash or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Cilantro, fresh chopped
- 1 lime juice of
- 1 Banana per person
- 1 lb. spaghetti cooked al dente
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add in the onions and bell pepper, cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Add in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant just a minute or two.
- Add in cubed beef and cook until browned while stirring.
- Add in the Xawaash, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes until meat is nice and tender.
- While the suugo is cooking you can make your pasta according to package directions.
- Add one teaspoon of sugar and stir the suugo. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Serve over pasta, plate with a banana and squeeze lime juice over the dish. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Bon Appetit!