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from: Eastern Africa

Berberé

Berberé (or Berbere) is an Ethiopian spice mixture that is the flavoring foundation of Ethiopian cuisine, a basic ingredient in Dabo Kolo, Doro Wat, and many other dishes.

Berberé is made from a cupboard-full of herbs and spices, fresh-ground, pan-roasted, and then packed into jars for storage. Among Ethiopian cooks there are many variations of which spices and what amounts. (In the recipe below, ingredients marked "optional" seem to be the least common.) Basic berberé is made by combining roughly equal amounts of allspice, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, and salt with a much larger amount of hot red (cayenne) pepper. The combination of fenugreek and red pepper is essential to berberé; while one or two of the other ingredients may be left out, the fenugreek and red pepper are must-haves. Milder berberé can be made by substituting paprika for some or most of the red pepper. Berberé is sometimes made as a dry spice mix, and is sometimes made with oil or water to form a paste.

Gondar, Ethiopia

What you need

What you do

Starting with whole spices, the various nuts and seeds and dried red chile peppers, then pan-roasting, grinding and mixing them will produce the most authentic berberé. However, perfectly satisfactory results can be obtained using already-ground or powdered spices.

The red wine seems to be a non-Ethiopian addition, but it works well.


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