Ethiopian Berbere Paste

If you’ve got your Niter Kibbeh all ready to go, what you need now is your spice blend. You can buy Berbere already made at Ethiopian groceries, as either a dry spice blend or a paste. Or you can make your own and make your kitchen smell divine.


The Niter Kibbeh is a spiced oil, but not spicy.  So it’s great for making the milder stews, the allecha dishes.  But this Berbere Paste is totally necessary if you want a spicy stew, called a w’et.  Part of the joy of Ethiopian food is having a plate with both mild allecha stews and hot & spicy w’et stews.


I can see myself using this spice paste in all sorts of other recipes: grain & veggie bowls, soups, stirfries, and anywhere I need a little zip.  I think I’m going to have to make sure I have a batch on hand at all times.  Because then I can have almost-instant Ethiopian food — just add your lentils or veggies, an onion, some garlic, and your niter kibbeh, and you have a tasty w’et (spicy stew).

The spicy heat comes from one of my favourites: cayenne.  And whenever you put paprika and cayenne together, my tastebuds are gloriously happy.



In fact, the berbere paste was so darn tasty that I decided to serve a little blob of it with my Ethiopian dinner platter.  And both of us needed seconds.  We used it as a condiment to spice up the other dishes — dipping a piece of the injera into it before using the injera to scoop up the stews.  But tread carefully — all that cayenne makes it quite hot!  And like me, you may well find yourself with a new hot sauce addiction!


Please note, Kittee has asked me to remove my adaptations of her recipes from my blog, and I am respectfully doing so.  I adapted her berbere paste (hot spice blend) from Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food.

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Categories: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Sauce, Vegan, Vegetarian


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  1. Ye’Abesha Gomen (Mild Collard Greens) | The Kitchen Operas - October 22, 2011

    […] dying to show you my Ethiopian dinner. And now that you have the base recipes for Niter Kibbeh and Berbere Paste, you can make your own Ethiopian dinners […]

  2. Ye’Miser Wat (Spicy Red Lentil Stew) | The Kitchen Operas - October 24, 2011

    […] Gomen (Mild Collard Greens), Lemony Arugula Salad in the centre, and a wee blob of spicy hot Berbere paste at the […]

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