Hawa has strong memories of flavors from her childhood, including this sauce made with a Somali spice blend that includes cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, and cumin.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens


Credit: Carson Downing

Recipe Summary test

30 mins
1 hr
6 cups


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the beef, Xawaash, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up beef, until meat is browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Add tomato paste and tomatoes with their juices. Fill tomato can halfway with water and add it to the pot. Stir well to combine, being sure to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Increase heat to high and bring sauce to a boil. Then decrease to low and simmer, stirring occasionally as sauce cooks, for 30 minutes. If desired, season sauce to taste with additional salt. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti with cilantro sprinkled on top. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to a few days and rewarmed in a heavy pot over low heat (stir while you heat). Serves 4.

Nutrition analysis including Pasta and Cilantro

Nutrition analysis per serving: 514 calories, 25 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 32 g total fat (9 g sat. fat), 78 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 8 g total sugar, 31% Vitamin A, 38% Vitamin C, 771 mg sodium, 10% calcium, 35% iron

Xawaash Spice Mix

1) Place one 2-inch piece cinnamon stick in a small zip-top plastic bag, seal it, and bang it a couple times with a rolling pin, skillet, or mallet (anything firm and heavy) to break it into small pieces. Place cinnamon pieces, 1/2 cup cumin seeds, 1/2 cup coriander seeds, 2 Tbsp. black peppercorns, 6 cardamom pods, and 1 tsp. whole cloves in a small heavy skillet over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very aromatic and spices are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

2) Transfer mixture, in batches if necessary, to a clean coffee grinder and grind into a fine powder. (Or use a mortar and pestle and some elbow grease.) Transfer ground spices to a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and sift. Regrind whatever large pieces remain in sieve and add them to the bowl with ground spices. Add 2 Tbsp. ground turmeric. Whisk well to combine. Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place up to 6 months. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

Nutrition Facts

435 calories; fat 32g; cholesterol 78mg; saturated fat 9g; carbohydrates 15g; mono fat 17g; poly fat 2g; trans fatty acid 1g; insoluble fiber 4g; sugars 7g; protein 23g; vitamin a 1461.7IU; vitamin c 34mg; thiamin 0.1mg; riboflavin 0.2mg; niacin equivalents 4.8mg; vitamin b6 0.3mg; folate 12.6mcg; vitamin b12 1.8mcg; sodium 770mg; potassium 523mg; calcium 130mg; iron 5.6mg.