Along with niter kibbeh (spiced butter), berbere provides the flavor that is uniquely Ethiopian. Fragrant and spicy, it is used on meat, poultry and vegetables. We use it in our Red Lentils (Misr Wat), Chicken Stew (Doro Wat) and Braised Beef with Peppers (Zilzil Tibs) recipes.
Recipe courtesy of Miriam Garron
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Spice Mix (Berbere)
Total:
15 min
Prep:
10 min
Cook:
5 min
Yield:
1 cup
Level:
Easy
Total:
15 min
Prep:
10 min
Cook:
5 min
Yield:
1 cup
Level:
Easy

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup New Mexico chile powder
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons black cardamom seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 small stick cinnamon 

Directions

Special equipment: a spice grinder

Whisk together the chile powder, paprika, cayenne, ginger, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and nutmeg. Set aside.

Put the cardamom, coriander, fenugreek, allspice, cloves and cinnamon in a small skillet and toast over medium-low heat, shaking the pan regularly, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Cool slightly.

Grind the toasted spices in a spice grinder to a fine powder. Add to the chile powder mixture and whisk to combine. Sift the spice mixture onto a piece of parchment paper, return to the bowl and whisk again. Return the pieces left in the sifter to the spice grinder and grind again as finely as possible; whisk into the spice mixture. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cook's Note

You can make the spice mix hotter or milder by varying the amount of cayenne.

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