June 26, 2009

Ethiopian Stew in Spicy Berbere Sauce

Ethiopian cuisine is unusual in that most of it is eaten with a spongy flat bread called injera. If you ever get the opportunity to eat in an Ethiopian restaurant, take it! The best meal to get is a large platter of various meats and vegetables. These are shared among the table. If the restaurant is authentic, there will be no silverware. You tear off a chunk of injera and use it to pick up food off the platter.

Ethiopian food also tends to be spicy. A common spice blend is called berbere, which is used in many local dishes. This recipe recreates this blend. The amount of heat can be controlled by how much cayenne pepper is added.

This dish is typically made with beef, but I have adapted it to use soy wadi and cook it in a pressure cooker. I also serve this over rice, as I am still trying to perfect a gluten-free version of injera. And since this is traditionally eaten with injera, it is supposed to be drier than I make it here. You could boil off some of the liquid once the dish is done, or drain the tomatoes before adding.

Ethiopian Stew in Spicy Berbere Sauce


2 small onions, finely minced
3 T olive oil
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 T ground paprika
1 t cayenne
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground fenugreek seeds
½ t ground turmeric
½ t cinnamon
½ t cardamom
¼ t ground cloves
¼ t allspice
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
¼ t cup dry red wine
¾ c water or broth
2 c soya wadi


1. Add the olive oil to the pressure cooker and bring to medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add the ginger and saute an additional minute.

2. Add all of the spices and stir in. Cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes (including juices), the wine, and the water. Finally, stir in the wadi.

3. Lock the lid and bring to high pressure. Cook for 15 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally.

4. Salt to taste and serve over rice.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! I love Ethiopian food. My friends and I would make regular treks to Georgetown in D.C. to go to the best local Ethiopian restaurant. I will try this with beef. Thanks. - Skate