Get to Know: Berbere
Whether you're a fan of Ethiopan cuisine or completely unfamiliar with it, once you've sampled this crimson spice mix you'll find a million ways to use it.
Berbere (pronounced “bare-bare-ee”) is a mix of hot, aromatic spices vital to many Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes, including the traditional spiced stews known as "wat." The blend, whose name means "hot" in Amharic, is characterized by its fiery heat, from a blend of ground chile peppers and peppercorns. The heat is cut with a mix of sweet spices including ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
As with many traditional spice blends, berbere blends can differ signicantly from region to region and even family to family, but usually includes ground coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, ajowan seed, mace and garlic.
Berbere is versatile enough to use anywhere you might use traditional chili powder. Because it consists mainly of crushed chiles, berbere brings heat and— thanks to a heady blend of ginger, warming spices, black pepper, fenugreek, ajowan seed, mace and cardamom—depth and complexity to dishes.
The result is a peppery, aromatic flavor that is as delicious mixed into a bowl of creamy vegan macaroni and cheese as it is in a pot of traditional doro wat. Berbere makes a delicious dry rub and can be sprinkled over fresh salads, or added to grain bowls for an unexpected touch of heat. It can also be made into a sauce or paste by adding small quantities of water and oil or vinegar until the right consistency is achieved.
Ready to try berbere for yourself? Our premium, ready-to-use Ethiopian Berbere blend can be purchased online or at a store near you. Try your hand at making crispy berbere chicken and lentils , berbere spiced salmon, lentil stew and so much more!