Berbere Sauce

Well, it’s been ages since I posted.  However, since I fiddled around with my spicing mixture for the Berbere sauce that I use for making Ethiopian dishes, I thought I’d post it here.  Makes it a lot easier to find/remember when I need to make it again….

Step 1:  Toast spices

  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns (crush before adding)
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Put all of the spices in a small frying pan and toast on moderate heat until they begin to smoke lightly.  Stir frequently!

Step 2: Wet ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 3-4 Garlic cloves (or minced)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6-7 hot tiny dried chilies (I use piquins)

Chop up a small onion.  Put it in a half-cup of water, and puree in a food processor or blender.  I use a hand-blender in a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup.  Add 4 cloves of garlic, or equivalent amount of minced garlic.  Add hot chilies and blend again

Step 3: Final blending

  • 3 tbs red wine
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Add the above spices and the toasted spices from Step 1 to the blended onions, etc.  Add the wine.  Blend again until smooth.  Drizzle in the oil as you blend.  Taste for heat (will depend on the piquins and the amount of cayenne).  Freeze in small aliquots and use as desired.  Should make enough for 4 batches of Kik Alicha

Note:  Almost all of the spices listed above can be obtained from Penzey’s Spices.  Their cayenne and piquins are very hot!  For chilies, use very small dried ones – the Penzey’s piquins are great, but you can substitute larger dried chilies if you adjust numbers for the volume.






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  1. Kik Alicha | 5 x 2 - September 27, 2014

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