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Tastes & Travels

Bariis with Spiced Beef

Bariis is a Somali rice dish, served as a side for special occasions of all sorts. Here, I add some beef to turn it into a hearty and comforting one-pot meal. You could substitute with chunks of chicken thighs or even fish or shrimp, though seafood takes less time to cook and should be added in the last 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. 

Bariis with Spiced Beef

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice 
  • 12 ounces boneless beef chuck, finely diced 
  • 3 tablespoons Xawaash spice mix, recipe follows 
  • Kosher salt 
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 6 cardamom pods 
  • 3 whole cloves 
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 cup canned plum tomatoes, crushed 
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  1. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear. Place the rice in a large bowl and  add cold water to cover by several inches. Let soak for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse. 
  2. Meanwhile, toss the beef with 1 tablespoon Xawaash and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. 
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot, scatter in the  beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the red onion and  garlic and cook until the onion begins to soften and is golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cinnamon,  cardamom and cloves. Cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup stock, cover and  simmer over low heat until the beef is almost tender, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  4. Uncover and increase the heat to high. Add the tomatoes and cook until the water has  evaporated and the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons  Xaawash and let cook a minute to combine the flavors. Stir the drained rice into the tomatoes.  Cook and stir until the rice is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups stock, stir  in the raisins and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Turn  off the heat and let the rice rest for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Discard the whole spices, if  desired and serve. 


Xawaash Spice Mix

Xawaash is an essential spice blend in Somalia and each home there has its own slightly different version. The recipe below makes a large batch, but once you start using it, you’ll find its deep, warm flavors enhance so many dishes - roasted or grilled meat and poultry, vegetables, beans and grains. 

Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin 
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander 
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric 
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. Put all of the spices in a small skillet and stir to combine.
  2. Toast over medium low heat, stirring  occasionally, until lightly toasted and aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Let cool.
  4. The Xawaash will keep in a sealed container in your pantry for up to 2 months.

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