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Entries in Berbere (1)


Ethiopian Extravaganza

Last night I went to book club at my mom's friend's house (Thanks Jenn!). They tend to eat food based on the content of the book, so last night, Jenn prepared Ethiopian food. It was absolutely phenomenal. She made 4 or 5 different recipes and each one was great and completely unique. Making them all at once took her all afternoon, however, each one individually would be far more manageable and much more like making a regular meal (30-60 min). I highly recommend trying at least one of these at some point. Dont let the names of the recipes or the idea of cooking a foreign food deter you!

Berbere Spice Mix

This spice mix is used in many of the recipes below. Refrigerate it upon completion.

  • 2 tsp cumin seed or powdered cumin

  • 1 tsp cardamom seed or powder

  • 1/2 tsp whole allspice

  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds or powder

  • 1 tsp coriander seed or powder

  • 8 whole cloves or ground cloves

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 5 tsp red pepper flakes or crumbled dried red pepper

  • 1 tbsp grated fresh gingerroot or 1/2 tsp dried gingerroot

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 3 tbsp sweet or hot paprika

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  1. Toast all the seeds and whole cloves in a small frying pan for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Grind the spices in a spice grinder. If you are using pre-ground spices, ignore and go to the next step.

  2. Mix all remaining ingredients. Refrigerate.

Ethiopian Lentils with Berebere Spice Mix

Ethiopian Lentils with Berebere Spice

  • 1 lb lentils

  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth

  • 6 cups mild green chili, roasted peeled, seeded and chopped

  • 2 red onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tbsp Berbere Spice Mix (*recipe above)


  1. Bring lentils and broth to boil and simmer for 10 minutes

  2. Add chiles, onion, garlic and Berebere spice mix. Cook covered for 30 minutes until liquid is absorbed

  3. Serve with ground black pepper to taste.

Shro Wat

Shro Wat

  • 1/2 lb butternut squash, cubed

  • 1 can (14 oz) chopped tomato

  • 2 tsp berebere spice (**See recipe above)

  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 1 cup corn kernel

  • 1 cup mixed vegetables, chopped (frozen veggies)

  • 1 red chili, chopped (optional)

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil or peanut oil

  • salt & pepper


  1. In a large saucepan, brown the onion in the oil, then add the garlic and chilli if using and the berebere powder and fry for 2-3 minutes.

  2. Add the tomatoes, peanut butter and tomato paste and sit until sauce is smooth.

  3. Add the vegetables with enough water to cover them. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  4. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered for 30-45 minutes. During this time, stir every so often and add more water as needed. (The final product does not have an overly thin consistency, but it is not thick and clumpy either).

  5. At the end, if the sauce is too thick, add water; if too thin, continue boiling to reduce it.

  6. Serve with Ethiopian bread or Naan (Indian flatbread found in the supermarket).

Aleecha (Vegetable Stew)


  • 2 large onions, sliced

  • 1.5 lbs potatoes, cut into chunks

  • 1 head of cabbage, cut into eighths

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, break into pieces

  • 4-5 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 1 tbsp curry powder

  • 3 tbsp butter


  1. Boil the cabbage.

  2. Sautee onions in the butter until translucent. Add curry powder and cook for one minute.

  3. Add 1/4 cup of water to the onion mixture and cook for 5 minutes.

  4. Add carrots and potatoes and cook for 15 minutes.

  5. Add cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes.

  6. Add cabbage and cook for 15 minutes.

Ethiopian Chicken and Onion Stew

Ethiopian Chicken and Onion Stew

  • 4 skinless chicken breast, cubed

  • 1 lime, quartered

  • 8 cups water

  • 1 tbsp ground allspice

  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger

  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1.5 tbsp cayenne

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

  • 2 jumbo red onions, finely chopped

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 4-6 hard boiled egg, peeled and sliced (optional)

  • cooked rice for serving (optional)

  • plain yogurt for serving


  1. Place diced chicken breasts in a bowl and add lime and 8 cups of water. Let it stand while you prepare the sauce.

  2. Combine allspice, ginger, pepper and garlic in a mortar and mash to a paste OR grind in a food processor. Add cayenne, cardamom, and cloves and mix again. Set aside.

  3. Heat a deep saute pan or casserole over medium heat. Add onions (do not add any liquid) and stir until moisture is released. Stir often until onions are soft and somewhat golden, 30 to 40 minutes. If pan gets too dry, add 1 or 2 tbsp of butter. Eventually the onions will take on a golden color.

  4. Add the remaining butter and spice paste and stir constantly until butter melts. Keep stirring over medium heat to release flavor of seasonings, 2-3 minutes.

  5. Stir in 1/2 cup of chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes.

  6. Remove chicken from water, shake dry and put them into onion mixture. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes.

  7. Remove cover and stir in another 1/2 cup chicken stock. Cook, uncovered, until chicken is tender - roughly 35 minutes. Add more stock if sauce gets too dry (the consistency should be a creamy-sauce, not a thin sauce).

  8. If using eggs, stir them in carefully.

  9. Serve with yogurt and naan.