Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®


Recipe by
Vicki Butts (lazyme)
Grapeview, WA

Originally used as the sauce for kifto, a fresh raw meat dish, berbere is now both an ingredient and a condiment in Ethiopian cooking. Like harissa, it is essentially a curry paste with an abundance of red chiles. Serve sparingly as a condiment with grilled beef and poultry or add to soups and stews. This paste will keep for a couple of months under refrigeration. From A World of Curries by Dave DeWitt and Arthur Pais.

yield 1 cup
prep time 15 Min
cook time 20 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For barbere

  • 1 tsp
    ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp
    cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp
    coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp
    whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp
    fenugreek seeds
  • 1 sm
    onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 clove
    garlic, peeled
  • 1 c
  • 14 sm
    dried hot red chiles, such as piquins, seeds and stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground allspice
  • 14 tsp
    ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground cloves
  • 3 Tbsp
    dry red wine
  • 3 Tbsp
    vegetable oil

How To Make barbere

  • 1
    Toast the cardamom, cumin and coriander seeds, cinnamon, peppercorns, and fenugreek seeds in a hot skillet, shaking constantly, for a couple of minutes, until they start to toast and gain aroma. Grind these spices to form a powder.
  • 2
    Combine the onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup of the water in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add the roasted spice powder, chiles, cayenne, paprika, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves, and continue to blend. Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup water, wine, and oil, and blend until smooth.
  • 3
    Place the sauce in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes to blend the flavors and thicken.