Recipe: Berberé – Hot East African Spice mix

Berberé is a spicy and savory spice mixture used all over Eritrea and Ethiopia. This blend goes well with chicken, beef, or lamb, and would also be great with lentils and other legumes. I’ve used it with our Doro Wat (chicken stew) and Awaze Tibs (lamb stew) recipes. A few sprinkles would also be great in our Lentil Wat.

Makes about 1/4 cup


3 cloves
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp  fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp peppercorns
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
5 whole allspice balls
1/4 tsp cardamom seeds (removed from pods)
1/8 cup chili powder


Heat the spices in a clean, dry skillet to toast them. Once cool, grind them in batches.

Keep going until most of the stragglers get ground up!

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  1. A friend of ours adopted a sweet young man from Ethiopia – boy does that boy go to town on anything cooked in or sprinkled with berbere!! Passing your recipe along to her as their stock brought over has run dry!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      That’s great, thank you! I hope the blend tastes half as good as what they brought home. Every home mixes theirs a little differently, so they should feel free to play with the proportions until they have something they like. I think the general rule of thumb is about half chili powder and half a combination of the other spices.

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  2. […] also used Berberé [Recipe] in the Tibs and served the meal with Injera [Recipe] … both recipes I made a couple of […]

  3. […]  The sauce is made almost entirely of berberé – the crazy, smoke alarm hot spice blend we made recently – as well as lemon juice and a buttery-good mixture of sautéed peppers, onions, ginger, […]

  4. […] around with the spice levels — 2 teaspoons of my berberé was very hot — I enjoyed it, but any hotter I would not have been able to handle it. For mild, […]

  5. […] kick it up with berberé [Recipe] – a spice blend made with loads of chili powder, cumin, fenukgreek, cinnamon and half a dozen […]

  6. […] Global Table Adventure | Recipe: BerberГ© – Hot East African Spice mix Recipe: BerberГ© – Hot East African Spice mix. February 27, 2011 By Sasha Martin 7 Comments. Makes about 1/4 cup … […]

  7. […] and find one that’ll work for you. Making your own garam masala, Georgian Five Spice, Bebere, or curry is totally the bees knees. Also, you can use it to grind sugar into caster sugar, for […]

  8. […] chopped 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 1/2 tsp) 3 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tsp berberé 1 cup beef stock 1.2 lbs cubed […]

  9. […] recently gave me. He even goes so far as to kick up the heat a level by adding a sprinkling of bebere spice, a blend we made way back when we cooked […]

  10. […] Recipe: Berberé – Hot East African Spice mix […]

  11. […] my East African burger I took inspiration from Ethiopia… and used infused a lamb patty with homemade berberé. This is a lovely spice blend – warm with a dozen different spices (like cinnamon, cardamom, […]

  12. […] real wat  uses about a 1/2 cup of berberé, the traditional East African spice blend of chili powder, fenugreek, ginger, cinnamon, and more. […]

  13. […] Hembesha is no exception: the east African bread is soft and earthy with whispers of garlic, coriander, cardamom, and fenugreek. The distinct flavor profile is great with hearty stews or even on the side of scrambled eggs (perfect for a savory brunch). That being said, hembesha is traditionally served in the afternoon with tea and a drizzle of honey and/or tesmi (tesemi is spiced ghee made with ginger, garlic, onions, and berbere) […]

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