Eritrean / Ethiopian Beef Stew -- Tsebhi Sga or Key Wet

Total Time
1hr 30mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr

I grew up in Asmara, Eritrea eating and making this dish regulary. This dish is one of the most popular dishes in the Eritrean and Ethiopian community.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 3 medium red onions
  • 12 cup spiced butter (also know as tesmi or kbe)
  • 14 cup chili paste (also know as d'lk, a hot chili mixed with water, oil and spices)
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 lbs beef (preferably a beef brisket or any cut of your favorite beef)
  • water


  1. Chop onions into small fine pieces.
  2. Heat a shallow deep pan, about 3 to 4 inches deep.
  3. Add half of the spiced butter.
  4. Once butter is melted add the chopped onions and cook it until the onion is caramelized.
  5. Be sure not to burn the onions, keep stirring!
  6. Add the chili paste to the cooked onions.
  7. Mix it well by adding a drop of water at a time as needed.
  8. Cook for about 15 minutes by adding a drop of water as you stir to stop it from drying.
  9. Add tomatoes and cook for about 30 minutes more stirring it often and adding a drop of water as needed to prevent it from drying out.
  10. Cut beef into small bite sizes, about ½ inch cubes.
  11. Add beef to the cooking paste and cook covered for about 20 minutes or until it is cooked fully.
  12. Add the remainder of the spiced butter and mix well.
  13. Let cook of about 5 more minutes.
  14. Depending on your personal desire, you may add more water to bring it to the consistency you like.


Most Helpful

in college I stayed with a group of Eritrean students in Geneva Switzerland. They served this amazing dish, I think in a traditional homestyle setting. With very little furniture in the room, they spread newspapers on the living room floor. Then they poured a huge pot of Kay Wat on the newspaper. We each took a strip of crusty bread and used it to pinch up a big mouth full of yummy. Thank you too Berhane, Melaku, Karen, and all the my terrific hosts from Asmara. That was 38 years ago and I still love the memories.

fashoemaker June 03, 2014

I follow the recipe but the meat came out way too hard. My husband couldnt eat it and I had to throw it in the trash.

Manzana May 23, 2010

I anonymously prepared this dish for an Ethiopian family newly arrived to Canada as a welcome to the neighbourhood gift. They wondered if an Ethiopian had prepared it! Thanks for the recipe. It is delicious. Kathy

kathyboschmann September 20, 2007

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