Updated: Mar 30, 2021
Berbere spice is one spice that I have been looking to try out especially because of the famous Ethiopian stew it is used for- Doro Wat, Ethiopia's national stew (which I hope to try/make someday and will definitely post).
This spice is amazing! I used it to make grilled tilapia fish and my goodness, the flavour and aroma it gave the fish was just so good. I've actually decided it is now going to be my go-to spice for fish! I haven't tried it on meat yet but I'm sure it will yield similar results. But from the aroma it gave it just feels to be that it is best placed for fish.
Now to give a little bit of history and more information about the spice: Berbere comes from the Amharic word Barbare, which means hot. It is speculated that the origin of the spice could've come as a result of the time period where Ethiopia controlled the route to the Silk Road from the Red Sea. This meant that they had access to goods from China, so spices such as cardamom, clove, turmeric, cinnamon,ginger and other spices, were brought into Ethiopian markets which led to locals experimenting with the spices. This is probably a good explanation as to why Berbere spice blend recipes consist of a lot of spices as you will see in the recipe below. As time went on, households developed their own mix and so the spice blend differs from region to region. The modern spice blend we see today is as a result of the early blends. Just like the Harissa spice you can make the Berbere spice in it's powder form or also as paste and use accordingly as the dish requires. You'd probably need the paste for marinading your fish/meat, which is what I did for the grilled tilapia. Right let's get into the recipe.
Recipe (This will make about 1 and 1/2 cup worth- so it will be a lot to keep you going!)
- 2 tbsp chilli powder
-2 tsp ground ginger
-2 tsp ground or whole cumin
-4 tbsp ground paprika
-2 tbsp ground cayenne pepper
-2 tsp ground or whole coriander
-2 tsp ground or whole green cardamom seeds
-1 tsp ground or whole cloves
-2 tsp ground or whole fenugreek
-2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp ground nutmeg
-1 tsp Allspice
-Oil (only for making it into a paste)
-Spice grinder/ Coffee Mill
-Air tight container (to store the spice blend)
1) If you have any of the ingredients in their whole/seeded form, then the first thing to do will be to get them into their powder form. To do this, heat up the pan on medium heat and then add all the whole/seeded spices in. Toast them for about 2-3 minutes when you begin to get their aromatic smell.
2) After toasting the spices, pour into a bowl and let them cool completely.
3) Pour the toasted spices into your spice grinder and then grind.
4) Pour the other spices into a bowl and also the grinded spices. Mix together thoroughly, stores in an air tight container, and that's it! Your home made Berber spices is ready to use!
To make into a paste, use the same ratio of spice to the oil as well. So if you're using 3 tablespoons of the blend mix, then use 3 tablespoons of oil too.
Check out the reels section of my Instagram page for a quick video showing the process here.
Any questions, feel free to send an email or message on any of my social media platform.