Suugo (Somali pasta sauce)

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A plate full of pasta with Somali pasta sauce called suugo along with a banana.

Suugo is what Somalis call their pasta sauce. Of course, they 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. The special thing about Somali Suugo is the use of a mixture of spices called Xawaash pronounced hawaaj. Add a lovely earthy touch to the sauce. I have the recipe on the site for the spice mix linked below or if you don't want to make your own you can buy xawaash here.

A plate full of pasta with Somali pasta sauce called suugo along with a banana.

Okay, I'm sure you see that banana on the plate, weird, I know. Somalis eat bananas with all kinds of unexpected foods like rice and stews. They usually take a bite of banana with what they are eating in this case, suugo. It's fantastic, it completely balances the flavors of the pasta dish and the sauce with the perfect amount of sweetness. Somalis also squeeze lime juice onto the plate. You get the sweet, salty, sour image, a perfectly balanced dish. I really loved this and I hope you do too.

It was also served with muufo, a lovely Somali bread that was perfect for absorbing suugo. You can also serve suugo over a sweet potato puree if you are not eating pasta.

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Did you know they have a saying in Somalia that they don't trust you if you don't use a red onion? It's true, so be sure to wear a red one when you suugo.

For more information on Somalia, be sure to check out ā€œOur Trip to Somaliaā€. There you will also find more authentic recipes, including the Xawaash you need for Suugo. Also, you will surely enjoy other recipes like Somali Salad and Kac Kac

Want even more? Make sure to join the culinary and cultural trip around the world so you don't miss a thing, it's free. You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and youtube to follow our journey.

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Suugo (Somali pasta sauce)

Suugo is the Somali pasta sauce served over spaghetti and always served with a banana. It is surprisingly delicious!

Author Darlene in international cuisine


  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound of meat cut into small cubes
  • 1 14 oz (0.53 kg) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of Xawaash or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 lime juice
  • 1 banana per person
  • 1 pound spaghetti cooked al dente


  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

  2. Add onion and bell pepper, cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant just a minute or two.

  4. Add cubed beef and cook until golden brown while stirring.

  5. Add the Xawaash, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes until the meat is tender and tender.

  6. While the suugo is cooking, you can prepare your pasta according to the package directions.

  7. Add a teaspoon of sugar and stir the suugo. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

  8. Serve over the pasta, serve a plate with a banana and squeeze the lime juice on the plate. Garnish with fresh coriander. Bon Appetite!

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