Xawaash is a spice blend from Somalia that is used in many of their dishes called Suugo or Saagar. It is somewhat similar to berbere from nearby Ethiopia. It is filled with the flavors of Somalia. Xawaash is pronounced “hawaaj” in Somali.
Somalia is located on the eastern peninsula of Africa known as the Horn of Africa. It has the largest coastline of all the African countries and is considered a gateway to the Middle East and Asia. Hence, they have had the pleasure of the spice trade for generations. It is no surprise that the cuisine is flavored with many of these spice treasures.
When you make your spice blend you will need to lightly dry toast some ingredients to bring out their flavors, taking care not to burn them. You will also need either a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. A spice grinder makes quick work of it however a mortar and pestle is more authentic. Either way you will end up with a glorious and flavorful spice blend.
Did you know that Somalia has been in anarchy with no central government since the 90’s?
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 to go with Xawaash in like Suugo . Also, you are sure to enjoy other recipes like Somali Salad and Kac Kac
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Xawaash (A Somali Spice Blend)
- 3 Tablespoons Cumin Seeds
- 3 Tablespoons Coriander Seeds
- 1 Tablespoon Peppercorns
- 1 Tablespoon Fenugreek Seeds
- 2 teaspoons Cardamon Pods Green
- 1 teaspoon Cloves whole
- 2 Tablespoons sage dried
- 4 teaspoons Ginger dried
- 1 Tablespoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg grated
- 1 stick cinnamon broken into pieces
- In a dry skillet over medium heat dry toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves, peppercorns and cardamon pods. Toast until fragrant just a couple of minutes taking care to burn them.
- In a bowl, add in all the ingredients except the sage and turmeric.
- Use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to finely grind all the spices.
- Pass them through a fine mesh sieve
- Add in the turmeric and crumble in the sage and mix all together
- Store in an airtight container it should last about 3 months or so.