I've always loved Ethiopian food. It's such a fun food to eat with your hands, share with friends, and explore a new culture of spices that are familiar to me, but that I have never used in this way before. In my exploration into Ethiopian food, I discovered a few key components of Ethiopian cuisine that are indispensable. They really are what create the flavors.
1. Teff: a grass native to northeast africa. Until making dinner, I had never heard of teff before. It can be ground into flour and is completely gluten free so it can be used by those with celiacs disease. It has a nutty, earthy flavor and is used to make injera. My injera came out horribly, so the recipe will not be posted. here, but it is an essential ingredient.
2. Berbere: a spice mixture usually containing chili, garlic, ginger, tumeric, fenugreek, allspice and cardamom (among other things). It's the spice powder that's usually added to... everything.
3. Niter Kibbeh: a spiced version of clarified butter, make by infusing the oil with cinnamon, ginger, onion tumeric, fenugreek, etc. Also used in practically everything.
Because of that, this is going to be a really really long post as this will have 3 recipes. You'll get a recipe for the spice, the butter and the main dish (of course, you can use normal clarified butter if you want, and you can use a packaged berbere spice, but what's the fun in that?) You really need these flavors and you can always adjust up the heat. And for a more traditional doro wat, just sub chicken for the beef.
Berbere (Ethiopian Spice)
- 2 tsp whole cumin
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ tsp cardamom pods
- 1 ½ tsp fenugreek
- 10 whole peppercorns
- 9 whole allspice berries
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 ½ Tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Mix together all ground ingredients in a jar
- Toast whole spices in pan until they release their aromas
- Grind whole spices in spice grinder and mix together
- If using in a recipe that calls for paste, add 1 tbsp of red wine and 1 Tbsp of oil for every 3 Tbsp powder.
Wasn't that easy? You can keep it around in a jar for all future uses with vegetables, lentils, and meat!
Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter)
- 1 lb unsalted butter
- ½ onion, chopped
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 1 inch pieces of ginger, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 tsp fenugreek
- ½ tsp turmeric
- Simmer all ingredients in saucepan over low heat for 1 hour
- Strain out solids and pour off only the fat. Leave the solids
- Store in refrigerator.
That was easy too! Keep it in the refrigerator and use it for anything. Now onto the real recipe.
Sik Sik Wat (Ethiopian Stewed Beef)
- 2 lbs stew beef
- 1 lemon, juice
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 onions, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger root
- ¼ cup niter kibbeh, oil or clarified butter
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- ¼ - ½ cup berbere paste
- ¾ cup water or stock
- ¼ cup red wine
- 1 tsp + cayenne pepper, depending on taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4-6 hard boiled eggs (optional)
- Rub stew beef with salt and lemon juice. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Melt down butter in a large pan. Add paprika to color the oil
- Add berbere paste and cook for 3 minutes, making sure not to burn.
- Add onions, garlic and ginger, cooking for 10 minutes until soft and most moisture is evaporated
- Add beef, water, wine and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 45 minutes for until beef is tender and sauce has thickened. Add water as necessary to keep sauce a thick consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Hard boil eggs if using and peel them.
- Add eggs to the wat and simmer for 15 more minutes before serving.