"A traditional Ethiopian/Eritrean dish. Very hot, so be prepared. If you're used to hot curries, you'll love it! Berbere pepper is a spice mix of mostly paprika and chili with some other spices (recipe included). It is also delicious on barbecues and in hot tomato sauces."
photo by Feej3940 photo by Feej3940
photo by Feej3940
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  • For the berbere, grind spices if necessary. Combine the spices and roast in a dry skillet on low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5-10 minutes, or until warm and just slightly roasted and fragrant - not browned. The proportions between hot and mild paprika powder should be adjusted to taste. I prefer 50/50, which gives a fairly hot result. The paprika powder should be of highest quality.
  • While still hot, pour the berbere pepper into a jar and seal. Will keep for months in a cool and dark place.
  • For the stew, brown the meat on high heat until brown, then add the onion, and eventually the garlic and 3 tbsp Berbere, which are NOT to become burnt.
  • Deglaze with the wine (if using). Add the canned tomatoes with their liquid, the stock cubes and the tomato paste and let simmer very slowly until the meat is tender and the stew has thickened (½ hour to 2 hours or more, depending on the meat).
  • Add salt, pepper and lemon to taste. Garnish with coriander and serve hot on Injera (Ethiopian flat bread). Also good with rice or potatotoes.

Questions & Replies

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  1. gstephenson
    Not too good. Followed the Bart recipe exactly, but the result was inedible. I think the amount of berbere spice recommended must be wrong. Saved the day by adding another can of tomatoes, some fresh tomatoes , yoghurt, and creme fraiche. Not sure we ended up with Zigni stew but at least we didn't waste anything. We used the excess liquid as an addition to spice up soups.
  2. Bugeah
    Wow! My husband and I both love hot food, but this was so hot that I could only eat a few bites...haha! My husband loved it, but even he had to add some yogurt to it to cool it down. We made it exactly as directed, except I didn't have any fenugreek. The flavors were good and I will probably make again but with a little less cayenne (probably 3-4 tbsp next time). I served mine over cooked millet and the husband ate it on a pita bread (we didn't have any injera around).
  3. VeganDave
    I made a quick version of this. Canned tomatoes with chiles, garlic and ginger paste, and berbere I bought from a fantastic little Ethiopian restaurant. Very tasty over basmati.
  4. Ymns girl
    YUM! My mom always made this dish at home (Yemen) and so was overjoyed to find the ingredients for the berbere pepper. We always had this dish with chicken and with some boiled eggs thrown in and so I made this with one whole chicken and 3 boiled eggs added in at the end. Lovely!
  5. Feej3940
    First time making anything Ethiopian. Also first time with fenugreek & cardamom. Both dh & I liked this. I admit, I was timid & only used 2 tablespoons cayenne. Should have used more. So a few days later, I added more cayenne to the rest of the berbere pepper mix and put it on some chicken I was grilling. We both liked it a lot. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I'm going to keep the berbere on-hand.


  1. Rhubarbarella
    This was very good! I used some niter kebbeh instead of the vegetable oil and I had my own berbere on hand which I used. It thickens up quite nicely and works well with injera. I will definitely make it again!



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