Berbere Spice Blend Recipes

Misir Wot (Lentil Stew)

This easy, 30-minute vegetarian dish is traditionally made from red lentils, although green will do.


  • 3 T olive, peanut, or coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3  cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 T Berbere Spice Blend
  • 3 oz (1/2 can) tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups (red) lentils
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Saute chopped onion and garlic in oil until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the tomato paste and Berbere spice. Mix. If the resulting paste is too thick, add about 1/4 cup water.
  3. Rinse the lentils, then add them to the pot with the 2 1/2 cups water. Simmer about 20 minutes, until cooked thoroughly.
  4. Add an additional 1/4 cup of warm water.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Note: Be careful when purchasing peanut oil; most brands are either diluted with cheap vegetable oils or treated with an anti-foaming agent. Pure peanut oil is expensive, which is why we get ours by purchasing plain peanut butter and pouring off most of the oil that separates from unadulterated peanut butter. Keep it in the refrigerator, where it will become partially solid.

Ethiopian Vegetable Stew

This hearty stand-alone vegetable stew can be supplemented by adding cubed and browned chicken at Step 3.


  • 1/4 cup olive, peanut, or coconut oil
  • 1 T Berbere Spice Blend
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 3 lg onions, chopped
  • 4 lg carrots, cubed
  • 4 lg potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 2 cups water


1.  Heat the oil in a large pot, then add the Berbere Spice Blend and minced garlic. Stir to thoroughly mix, then add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the carrots and potatoes. Cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the puree and water (and optional cubed, browned chicken). Cover, lower temperature to a simmer, and cook 30-40 minutes until the carrots and potatoes are fully cooked.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a side of crusty bread.

Doro Wat (Chicken Stew)

Doro Wat is one of the most popular North African dishes, and can be found in almost every Ethiopian restaurant. It takes 3 hours to make this superb slow-cooked, nutritious, and flavor-rich meal, and it is oh so worth it!

Substitute beef and the dish is called Sik Sik Wat. It is also delicious with pork and lamb. This is truly an all-purpose main dish recipe!


  • 3 lbs chicken cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T extra virgin olive, pure peanut, or coconut oil
  • 3 C yellow onions, finely minced/pureed
  • 1 T finely minced garlic
  • 1 T finely minced ginger
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/4 cup Berbere Spice Blend 
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup White wine mixed with 1 t honey
  • 1 cup Chicken stock
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and pierced all over with a fork 1/4-inch deep


  1. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and pour the lemon juice over them. Let them sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes. (Or leave it on the counter while you do Steps 2 – 4, 95 minutes.)
  2. Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven. Add onions and sauté, covered, over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, and 1 T butter. Continue to sauté, covered, another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add Berbere Spice Blend and 2 T butter. Continue to sauté, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the chicken, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Adjust seasonings, adding more Berbere according to your preference. Add the hardboiled eggs, simmer on low heat, covered, for 15 minutes.

Serving Notes

  • Serve with a side of rice.
  • Cut each egg in half and use a half egg as a plate garnish.
  • Sprinkle chopped fresh cilantro over the dish as a colorful and tasty garnish.
  • Sprinkle diced fresh tomato over the dish for a cooling color and taste contrast.

Tilapia in Berbere Butter

In addition to tilapia, any firm white fish (like cod or halibat) will work for this super-simple dish, and it’s an excellent choice for your next weekend BBQ!


Rinse the fish fillets and pat them dry. Set aside.

For every 2 fillets, heat in a large pan:

  • 1 T butter
  • 2 t Berbere Spice Blend
  • 1 T fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
  • a pinch of salt (optional)

Place the fish in the pan, cook for 1 minute; flip the fish and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until cooked through, basting with the butter sauce every minute or so.

Hint: if you are cooking a fish with its skin on, start on the non-skin side, then flip the fillet so the skin side is down for the longest cooking.

Test for doneness by lightly flaking with a fork. The flesh should flake easily and be white throughout.

Adding a spice mix will cause a normal “blackening” effect on the surface. Be sure to check for doneness by temperature or by raking a fork over the flesh as discussed above.

To serve: place a fillet on a plate (skin side down), and spoon some of the butter sauce over the top.