Tag Archives: berbere

Beef Stew in Berbere Sauce

Beef Stew in Berbere Sauce

The word of the day is melange, a french word meaning “Ho boy, there’s a lot of stuff in this”. When making this dish, keep the word melange in the back of your mind, as when you reach the tenth spice, you gain insight to what the word truly means.

The sauce here is amazing, even if it’s an anglicized approximation of its Ethiopian counterpart T’ibs W’et. Typically in Ethiopian Cooking, tomatoes are not to be seen, and the butter would be of the clarified spiced variety that I talked about here last week. Not so much for this recipe, but it does make a great starting point for those looking to ease themselves into Ethiopian foods.

  • 1 Tablespoon frech ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (I used a nice Merlot, which worked fine)
  • 2 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 3/4″ pieces

Into a mixing bowl, combine all of the spices, from ginger to the allspice. Mix together with a fork and then set aside.

Take the onions, and finely dice them in a food processor. They should almost look pureed, but not quite.

Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the newly diced onions, and allow to brown for about 10 minuters, stirring often.

After the ten minutes, add the melange of spices and mix into the onions until you get a nice aroma from the pot, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and red wine. Add the beef, lower the heat to a simmer (185 degrees F), and cover with a lid. Cook from 2-3 hours.

Serves 6

Technorati Tags: Food, Stew, Recipes, Beef, Ethiopian Food

Berbere: Ethiopian Pepper Spice


I’m working on Ethiopian food when time permits. The problem I am running into is that, unlike Italian cuisine, I can’t walk into the local grocery store and pick the spices and ingredients needed in order to do certain dishes. This means either scouring the little Ethiopian stores in the Central District here in Seattle, special ordering ingredients over the internet, or making my own from scratch.

Berbere is a melange of spices, sort of a cross between a spicy paprika and a curry, yet even this explanation doesn’t do it justice. It’s one of those spices that you have to take part of before you can go “Oh yeah! That’s berbere!”

Berbere is a red pepper spice, as peppers are a staple in Ethiopia and it should come as no surprise that they use it as such. They use it in both Berbere and a paste called awaze. Berbere is used in w’ets and stews and should be considered a regular part of a pantry if one is to cook Ethiopian on a regular basis.

Its taste is something that is new to me. Certainly the spiciness of the peppers is present, but when I compared it to a curry, I wasn’t simply being pithy. Cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves were clearly present in the sample that I had tasted. My presumption is that berbere is similar to curry in that there is no one standard recipe for the spice, but hundreds.

Now for the bad news: If you can’t find berbere, you’ll have to make it. Luckily for me, I was able to find some here in Seattle. I won’t publish the recipe for berbere here, as my standard on this site is to try to only post recipes that I have tried. But I do have a traditional recipe in my collection, and if you want it, I can e-mail it to you.

Technorati Tags: food, Ethiopian Food, spices, berbere