Alicha Recipe - Traditional Eritrean Dish


Alicha Recipe - Traditional Eritrean Dish
Region / culture: Eritrea | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes | Servings: 4



Alicha is a comforting and aromatic stew that hails from the rich culinary traditions of Ethiopia. This particular recipe features tender pieces of goat meat simmered with a blend of fragrant spices, including turmeric, mustard seeds, and caraway, creating a dish that is both flavorful and deeply satisfying. Perfect for those looking to explore Ethiopian cuisine, this Alicha recipe promises to deliver an authentic and delicious experience.


The origins of Alicha can be traced back to the diverse culinary landscape of Ethiopia, where stews like Alicha play a central role in the diet. Traditionally, Alicha is made with a variety of meats or lentils and is characterized by its lighter, more delicate flavor profile compared to its spicier counterpart, Doro Wat. The use of turmeric instead of berbere spice mix gives Alicha its distinctive yellow color and milder taste. Over time, this dish has evolved, with families passing down their own versions, making it a staple in Ethiopian households.


How to prepare

  1. In a dry pan, heat over medium heat and stir-fry onions for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the oil and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add the meat and brown for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add all of the spices and seasonings at once, and stir well.
  5. Add the water and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover the pan and cook over moderate heat for about 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
  7. If the curry dries out too quickly, add another 0.5 cup of water.
  8. At the end of the 45 minutes, there should be very little sauce remaining.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • For a vegetarian version, substitute the goat meat with lentils or mixed vegetables.
  • Chicken or beef can be used in place of goat meat for a different flavor profile.
  • Add potatoes or carrots to the stew for additional texture and nutrition.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best results when making Alicha, consider the following tips:

- Use a heavy-bottomed pot to evenly distribute heat and prevent burning.

- Brown the meat well before adding the spices to develop depth of flavor.

- Adjust the amount of water based on the desired thickness of the sauce.

- Be patient and allow the stew to simmer slowly to tenderize the meat and meld the flavors.

Serving Suggestions

Alicha is traditionally served with injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture. For a complete meal, accompany the stew with a side of sautéed greens or a fresh salad.

Cooking Techniques

Slow simmering is key to developing the flavors and tenderizing the meat in Alicha. Using a low to medium heat allows the ingredients to meld together harmoniously without burning.

Ingredient Substitutions

Olive oil can be used instead of corn oil for a healthier fat option.

- If fresh spices are unavailable, ground spices can be substituted, though fresh is preferred for optimal flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

Alicha tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to develop. Prepare the stew a day in advance and reheat gently before serving for an enhanced taste experience.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Alicha in a large communal bowl or individual bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley for a pop of color and freshness. A side of lemon wedges can also add a bright note to the dish.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Alicha with a crisp, dry white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a light-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir to complement the rich flavors of the stew.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Alicha in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little water if necessary to adjust the consistency.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Alicha contains approximately 300 calories, making it a relatively low-calorie option for a main meal. Pairing it with a side of vegetables or a small serving of injera (Ethiopian flatbread) can create a balanced and satisfying meal.


This Alicha recipe contains a moderate amount of carbohydrates, primarily from the onions. One serving of this dish provides approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates, making it a suitable option for those monitoring their carb intake.


The fats in this recipe come from the corn oil used for frying and the natural fats within the goat meat. Each serving contains about 15 grams of fat, with a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. Opting for lean cuts of meat can help reduce the saturated fat content.


Goat meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein. A single serving of this Alicha provides roughly 30 grams of protein, contributing significantly to daily protein requirements and supporting muscle maintenance and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B12, iron, and zinc from the goat meat, and Vitamin C from the fresh chili. The spices also contribute small amounts of various micronutrients, enhancing the nutritional profile of the dish.


This recipe is free from common allergens such as dairy, nuts, and gluten. However, those with specific food sensitivities should review the ingredient list carefully and make adjustments as necessary.


Overall, Alicha is a nutritious and balanced dish, offering a good mix of proteins, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Its moderate calorie content makes it an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy a flavorful meal without overindulging.


This Alicha recipe offers a delightful journey into Ethiopian cuisine, combining tender goat meat with aromatic spices in a savory stew. With its rich cultural history and nutritional benefits, Alicha is a dish that not only satisfies the palate but also nourishes the body. Whether you're an aficionado of Ethiopian food or a curious newcomer, this recipe is sure to become a cherished addition to your culinary repertoire.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of finding this recipe for the first time brings a smile to my face. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Sarah in her cozy little cottage by the sea. Sarah was known for her culinary skills, and I always looked forward to our time together in the kitchen.

On this particular day, Sarah had a surprise for me. She told me she had learned a new recipe from her Ethiopian neighbor, and she was eager to try it out. I watched with curiosity as she gathered the ingredients and began to prepare the dish. The aroma that filled the kitchen was unlike anything I had ever smelled before – a tantalizing mix of spices and herbs that made my mouth water.

As the dish simmered on the stove, Sarah explained to me that it was called Alicha, a traditional Ethiopian stew made with vegetables and fragrant spices. She told me how her neighbor had generously shared the recipe with her, passing down a piece of her culture through the art of cooking. I listened intently, captivated by the story behind the dish.

When the Alicha was finally ready, Sarah served it to me in a beautiful clay bowl. I took my first bite, savoring the complex flavors that danced on my tongue. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted – a harmonious blend of sweetness, tanginess, and warmth that left me craving more.

I begged Sarah to teach me how to make Alicha, and she graciously agreed. Together, we went through each step of the recipe, from chopping the vegetables to adding the spices. Sarah patiently guided me through the process, imparting her knowledge and expertise with every stir of the spoon.

After hours of cooking and chatting, the Alicha was finally ready. I couldn't wait to taste my own creation. I scooped a generous spoonful onto my plate and took a bite, closing my eyes to savor the flavors. It was a success – the Alicha tasted just as delicious as Sarah's.

From that day on, Alicha became a staple in my cooking repertoire. I made it for family gatherings, dinner parties, and quiet nights at home. Each time I prepared the dish, I thought of Sarah and her Ethiopian neighbor, grateful for their generosity in sharing this recipe with me.

Over the years, I have added my own touches to the Alicha recipe, tweaking the spices and ingredients to suit my taste. But no matter how I modify it, the essence of the dish remains the same – a testament to the power of food to connect us across cultures and generations.

As I sit in my kitchen now, preparing a steaming pot of Alicha for my grandchildren, I can't help but reflect on the journey that brought this recipe into my life. It reminds me of the beauty of friendship, the joy of cooking, and the importance of passing down traditions from one generation to the next.

And as I take a bite of the fragrant stew, I am filled with a sense of gratitude for the memories and experiences that have shaped me into the cook I am today. The recipe for Alicha may have come from a distant land, but its flavors have found a home in my heart – a reminder of the power of sharing food and stories with those we love.


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