Ethiopian Ambasha Recipe - Vegetarian Food from Ethiopia

Ethiopian Ambasha

Ethiopian Ambasha Recipe - Vegetarian Food from Ethiopia
Region / culture: Ethiopia | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 8 | Vegetarian diet


Ethiopian Ambasha
Ethiopian Ambasha

Ethiopian Ambasha is a traditional bread that is popular in Ethiopian cuisine. It is a slightly sweet and spicy bread that is perfect for serving with stews, soups, or on its own as a snack.


Ambasha has been a staple in Ethiopian cuisine for centuries. It is often served during special occasions and celebrations, as well as during religious holidays. The bread is known for its unique flavor profile, which comes from a blend of spices such as coriander, cardamom, and fenugreek.



How to prepare

  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the coriander, cinnamon, white pepper, fenugreek, salt, oil, and lukewarm water, and stir well.
  3. Slowly add the flour until a mass forms.
  4. On a floured board, knead the dough for 10 minutes or until it is smooth and tiny bubbles form.
  5. (Note: This recipe makes a stickier dough than usual.)
  6. Reserve a 1-inch piece of dough.
  7. With floured hands, spread the dough out on an ungreased pizza pan.
  8. Using a sharp knife, score the dough in a design similar to the spokes of a bicycle wheel.
  9. Place the reserved ball of dough in the center of the scored dough.
  10. Cover and let rise for one hour.
  11. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for an hour or until golden brown.
  12. Combine the topping ingredients (cayenne, oil, ground ginger, ground cloves, cinnamon) in a small bowl.
  13. While still warm, brush the bread with the topping.
  14. Yield: 1 16-inch loaf.


  • For a sweeter version of Ambasha, you can add a tablespoon of honey to the dough. You can also experiment with different spice combinations to create a unique flavor profile.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

When making Ambasha, it is important to knead the dough thoroughly to ensure a light and airy texture. Additionally, scoring the dough before baking helps the bread to rise evenly and creates a beautiful design on the surface. Brushing the bread with the spicy topping while it is still warm adds an extra layer of flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Ambasha is best served warm with butter or honey. It pairs well with Ethiopian stews, soups, or salads. It can also be enjoyed on its own as a snack or appetizer.

Cooking Techniques

Kneading the dough thoroughly and scoring it before baking are key techniques for making Ambasha. It is also important to let the bread rise properly before baking to ensure a light and fluffy texture.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don't have all the spices listed in the recipe, you can use a pre-made Ethiopian spice blend as a substitute. You can also use whole wheat flour instead of unbleached flour for a healthier option.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the dough for Ambasha ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight. This allows the flavors to develop and makes the bread even more delicious.

Presentation Ideas

Ambasha can be served on a decorative platter with fresh herbs or flowers for a beautiful presentation. You can also slice the bread and arrange it in a basket for a more casual serving option.

Pairing Recommendations

Ambasha pairs well with Ethiopian dishes such as Doro Wat (spicy chicken stew) or Misir Wat (spicy lentil stew). It also goes well with Mediterranean-inspired dishes like hummus and tabbouleh.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Ambasha can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. To reheat, wrap the bread in foil and warm it in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 10-15 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Ambasha contains approximately 250 calories. This makes it a relatively low-calorie bread option that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.


Each serving of Ambasha contains approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy and are essential for overall health and well-being.


Ambasha is a relatively low-fat bread, with each serving containing around 5 grams of fat. The fat content in this bread comes primarily from the vegetable oil used in the dough and the topping.


Each serving of Ambasha provides about 6 grams of protein. Protein is important for muscle growth and repair, as well as for overall health and immune function.

Vitamins and minerals

Ambasha is a good source of iron, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Iron is essential for healthy blood cells, magnesium is important for bone health, and vitamin B6 plays a key role in metabolism and brain function.


Ambasha contains wheat flour, which may be a potential allergen for some individuals. It is important to check for any allergies or dietary restrictions before consuming this bread.


Overall, Ambasha is a nutritious bread option that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is a flavorful and satisfying addition to any meal.


Ethiopian Ambasha is a flavorful and aromatic bread that is perfect for serving with a variety of dishes. With its unique blend of spices and light texture, it is sure to become a favorite in your household.

How did I get this recipe?

I can't forget the moment I stumbled upon this recipe for Ethiopian Ambasha. It was a warm summer day, and I was wandering through the bustling streets of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. The air was filled with the exotic scents of spices and herbs, and I couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement as I explored the vibrant markets and lively cafes.

As I meandered through the narrow alleyways, I stumbled upon a small bakery tucked away in a corner. The aroma of freshly baked bread wafted through the air, drawing me in like a magnet. I couldn't resist the temptation to peek inside and see what delicious treats awaited me.

Inside, I was greeted by a friendly old woman with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye. She was busy kneading dough and shaping it into loaves of bread, her hands moving with practiced ease. I watched in awe as she worked, her movements so fluid and graceful that it seemed almost like a dance.

Curious to learn more about her craft, I struck up a conversation with the old woman. She introduced herself as Tsehay, a master baker who had been perfecting her craft for over fifty years. She explained that she was renowned in the community for her traditional Ethiopian bread, known as Ambasha.

Intrigued by her stories and eager to learn, I asked Tsehay if she would be willing to teach me how to make Ambasha. To my delight, she agreed and invited me to join her in the bakery the following day.

I arrived at the bakery early the next morning, ready and eager to learn. Tsehay welcomed me with a warm smile and set to work teaching me the art of making Ambasha. She showed me how to mix the dough, explaining the importance of using the right balance of flour, yeast, and water to achieve the perfect texture.

As we worked together, Tsehay shared stories of her childhood in Ethiopia and the traditional recipes that had been passed down through generations in her family. She spoke of the importance of food in Ethiopian culture, how it brought people together and forged bonds that lasted a lifetime.

Under Tsehay's patient guidance, I learned the intricacies of shaping the dough into the distinctive round loaves that are characteristic of Ambasha. She showed me how to score the tops of the bread with intricate patterns, a tradition that dates back centuries in Ethiopian baking.

As the loaves baked in the oven, filling the bakery with their tantalizing aroma, Tsehay shared the final secret of Ambasha – a special blend of spices and herbs that gave the bread its unique flavor. She handed me a small jar filled with the fragrant mixture, explaining that it was a closely guarded family recipe that had been passed down through the generations.

Finally, the moment of truth arrived as Tsehay pulled the freshly baked Ambasha from the oven. The loaves were golden brown and fragrant, their tops adorned with intricate patterns that seemed almost too beautiful to eat. I couldn't wait to taste the fruits of my labor, to savor the flavors of Ethiopia that had been lovingly baked into each loaf.

As I bit into the warm, soft bread, a wave of nostalgia washed over me. The flavors of cumin, coriander, and cardamom danced on my taste buds, transporting me back to the bustling streets of Addis Ababa and the warm embrace of Tsehay's bakery.

From that day on, I knew that Ambasha would hold a special place in my heart and on my table. I had learned not just a recipe, but a piece of Ethiopian culture and tradition that I would carry with me for the rest of my days. And it was all thanks to the kind and generous spirit of Tsehay, the master baker who had shared her craft and her heritage with me.


| Cardamom Recipes | Ethiopian Recipes | Ethiopian Vegetarian | Fenugreek Recipes | Unbleached Flour Recipes | White Pepper Recipes | Yeast Recipes |

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