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Spice up your food with Berbere-an Ethiopian Spice Blend
December 30, 2017

Spice up your food with Berbere-an Ethiopian Spice Blend

What is Berbere?

Berbere is a spice mixture common in Ethiopian cuisine. For optimal flavor, whole spices are toasted first before grinding.

Included in this newsletter is my take on this spice blend. Most of the spices for this recipe can be found in the regular supermarket, but spices such as black cardamom and fenugreek seeds you may need to seek out at an Indian market. The spice mixture in this recipe is on the "hotter" side, so if you don't like it too hot, you can always just reduce the amount of dried chilies.

Try using this spice blend in hearty stews using beef or chicken. Its also tasty in vegetarian dishes using lentils or beans.

So, if you are new to berbere, give this spice blend a shot. You won't be dissapointed!

Wishing you a joyful and prosperous new year!

Chef Vanessa


(Makes about 1 cup)


1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon of black cardamom seeds

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns 1 teaspoon whole allspice 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds

1 tablespoon of whole coriander seeds

10 small red chilies or other dried chilies1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric

2 tablespoons of kosher salt

1/4 cup of Spanish smoked paprika (mild or hot depending on your preference)

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

In a small frying pan, on a low heat, toast cumin, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, allspice, fenugreek & coriander for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, place in a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes.

Discard stems from chilies. In a spice grinder or with a mortar & pestle, finely grind together the toasted spices & chilies. Mix in remaining ingredients.

Store in airtight container away from direct light. Spice blend should be used within 3 months for best flavor.

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