The mixture known as Nit'ir qibe, is kept handy in most Ethiopian kitchens to add flavor to meat and vegetable stews. In fact, virtually no meal in Ethiopia is made without nit'ir qibe, which gives the cooking its signature flavors.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. As foam rises to the top, skim and discard it. Continue cooking, without letting the butter brown, until no more foam appears. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cumin, cardamom, oregano, turmeric, and basil and continue cooking for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and let stand until the spices settle. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve before using.
Store in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to 3 weeks.