1 tablespoon dried chillies
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons nigella seeds
2 teaspoons cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1½ tablespoons sweet paprika
½ tablespoon ground ginger
handful of mint and coriander leaves
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and finely grated
sea salt
olive oil
2 French-cut lamb racks, approx. 1.2kg in weight
small handful of mint and coriander
½ red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Berbere spice mix

Berbere is Amharic, rather appropriately, for ‘hot’, and it is a fiery, vibrant spice mix integral to many Northern African cooking cultures, particularly Ethiopia and Eritrea. The more people in the know that I spoke to about what makes up a truly authentic Berbere spice mix, the more conflicted and confused I became. One Ethiopian friend shrugged nonchalantly with, “It is what you make of it.” So, much like the similar, softer, ras el hanout, (or ‘spice of the house’), go with what you like – but do honour the name and give it a bit of punch. The following spice mix is an approximation since spices such as ajwain, rue, korarima and radhuni aren’t particularly accessible. Use it to rub into vegetables, fish, chicken or, in this case, sweet spring lamb.

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1.For the spice mix, combine the chillies, peppercorns, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, nigella seeds, cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon together in a dry pan and toast over a moderate heat until lovely and fragrant.
2.Allow to cool a little, combine with the paprika and ground ginger and blitz in a food processor to a fine, consistent powder.
3.This will last in a sealed jar for a couple of weeks.
4.Chop the mint and coriander, combine with the red onion, garlic, ginger, a tablespoon of the spice mix, a good sprinkling of sea salt and a few glugs of olive oil.
5.Taste to see if you need more spice or salt, then spread all over the lamb.
6.Pop in a bowl, cover and chill overnight.
7.Remove the lamb from the fridge and bring up to room temperature.
8.Get a barbecue or a large pan going over a high heat.
9.Add a bit of oil, let it heat up and then quickly cook the lamb on both sides – about 20 minutes all up should do it for rare to medium rare – then rest the meat for at least 5 minutes.
10.Chop the second lot of mint and coriander, combine with the chopped red onion, the Berbere spice mix and a bit of salt and olive oil.
11.Slice the lamb up and serve on a warm platter with the mint and coriander mixture scattered over the top.

Recipes and images
extracted from

Food Worth Making

Volume II
by Sam

and styling by Sam

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