Dinner Plate Travails

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Berbere Spice Paste

Many of the recipes online seemed far too westernized. I’m going to check this against the Ethiopian cookbook we have (somewhere in the house–who knows where) before I make it again.

I am nearly certain this is responsible for oily, curry-like smell that is still detectable in our house 3 days after I made an Ethiopian dinner (part of it may have come from the Doro Wot I made right after). Wow! When you cook these spices–be careful–keep windows open and your stove fan running at full blast (oh, and use the back burner)!

Here is my adaptation.. Makes slightly more than 1/2 cup:

16 cardamom pods
1 T cumin seed
1 t black peppercorns
1 t fenugreek seeds
1.5 t allspice berries
6 whole cloves

3 T peanut oil
4 minced shallots
2 minced garlic cloves
2 T grated fresh ginger
2 fresh red chilies

1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons paprika (hot and or sweet–preferably hot)
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 teaspoon turmeric

  1. Toast all the whole spices in a dry pan over medium heat until they are fragrant. This will produce a very strong smell.
  2. In the same pan, heat the oil and sweat the shallots, garlic, and chilies over medium heat. Do not let them color. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. Grind the toasted whole spices and the red pepper flakes in a spice grinder, then mix them with the powdered spices.
  4. In a mortar and pestle, pound the shallots, garlic, and peppers until soft and blended.
  5. Add the ground spice mix to the wet mixture and pound in batches.
  6. Heat back up the pan and lightly fry the mixture.
  7. Put into a container to store.

This recipe was helpful: http://honest-food.net/wild-game/sauces-for-wild-game/ethiopian-berbere-paste/