Berbere -- Ethiopian Red Pepper and Spice Paste

Recipe by Sackville
READY IN: 30mins
YIELD: 2 cups




  • In a heavy frying pan, toast the ginger, cardamom, coriander, fenugreek, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and allspice over a low heat for a minute or so.
  • Stir constantly until they are heated through and then remove from the pan.
  • Next you need to combine the toasted spices, onions, garlic, 1 tbsp of the salt and all of the wine together into a smooth paste.
  • I prefer to do this in a mortar and pestle but if you have a blender that is good with small quantities that may work too.
  • Next mix the paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper and the rest of the salt in the frying pan and toast them over a low heat.
  • Stir in the water 1/4 cup at a time and then add the spice and wine mixture.
  • Stir vigorously and cook over the lowest possibly heat, stirring all the time, for an absolute minimum of 5 minutes and up to 10 or even 15 minutes if you can.
  • Transfer the spice paste to a jar and pack it in tightly.
  • Let the paste cool to room temperature and then cover with enough oil so it makes a film about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • If you keep it covered with oil, the paste will last in the fridge for 5-6 months.