Berbere Recipe

From Dorothy McNett's Recipe Book.

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From Dorothy McNett's recipes at This is a version of the red-pepper and spice paste used in Eritrea and Ethiopian cuisine. Makes 1 cup, and any leftovers can be kept in refrigerator for 3-4 months.

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground allspice
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine or apple juice (pomegranate)
1 cup paprika
1 tablespoon ground hot red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat a heavy bottomed 2 quart saucepan or small skillet and then toast the ginger, cardamom, coriander, fenugreek, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and allspice for about 1 minute, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes. Using a blender, mortar and pestel, or food processor combine the toasted spices, onion, garlic, salt and wine to make a fairly smooth mixture. Combine the paprika, red pepper and black pepper in the saucepan and toast about 1 minute or until the mixture is heated. Slowly blend in the water, and then add the pureed mixture. Stirring with your silicone spatula, continue to cook over very low heat for about 4-5 minutes, being careful not to let it burn onto the bottom. Transfer mixture to a bowl or a crock and allow to cool. Drizzle with the oil and refrigerate until ready to use. If you replenish the oil each time you use some, this mixture can be kept in the refrigerator 3-4 months. It is a fine sauce for beans, rice, meats, sausages, etc. from any cuisine. It is quite thick, so for a more sauce-like consistency, blend in a bit more olive oil.

Recipe created 2009-05-26.

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