Ethiopian Curried Butter Recipe - Vegetarian Dish with Spices and Herbs

Ethiopian Curried Butter

Ethiopian Curried Butter Recipe - Vegetarian Dish with Spices and Herbs
Region / culture: Ethiopia | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 12 | Vegetarian diet


Ethiopian Curried Butter
Ethiopian Curried Butter

Ethiopian Curried Butter, also known as Niter Kibbeh, is a flavorful and aromatic clarified butter that is commonly used in Ethiopian cuisine. It is infused with a blend of spices and herbs, giving it a unique and rich flavor profile.


Niter Kibbeh has been a staple in Ethiopian cooking for centuries. It is believed to have originated from traditional Ethiopian cooking techniques, where butter is clarified and infused with various spices to enhance the flavor of dishes.


How to prepare

  1. Combine ginger, onion, and garlic, and crush them into a coarse paste using a mortar and pestle. Set it aside.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat, stirring constantly, making sure it doesn't darken. Remove any foam that forms on the surface and continue cooking until all the foam disappears.
  3. Add the paste and all the remaining ingredients to the butter. Simmer uncovered on the lowest heat possible, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let it cool. Pour off the clear top layer and keep it aside, leaving behind as much of the milk solids and spices as possible. Strain the clear layer through multiple layers of cheesecloth. The butter will typically be in liquid form at room temperature and will solidify in the refrigerator. It can be stored, covered, for 3 to 4 months.


  • Add additional spices such as cloves, allspice, or coriander for a different flavor profile.
  • Use ghee or coconut oil as a substitute for butter for a dairy-free version.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure to cook the butter over low heat to prevent it from burning.

- Removing the foam that forms on the surface of the butter will help clarify it.

- Straining the butter through cheesecloth will help remove any remaining milk solids and spices, resulting in a clear and smooth texture.

Serving Suggestions

Niter Kibbeh can be used as a cooking fat or as a flavoring agent in various Ethiopian dishes such as stews, lentils, and vegetables.

Cooking Techniques

Clarifying butter, infusing with spices

Ingredient Substitutions

Ghee or coconut oil can be used as a substitute for butter.

- Different spices can be used based on personal preference.

Make Ahead Tips

Niter Kibbeh can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 months.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Niter Kibbeh in a small dish or jar, garnished with fresh herbs or spices.

Pairing Recommendations

Niter Kibbeh pairs well with traditional Ethiopian dishes such as Doro Wat (spicy chicken stew) or Misir Wat (red lentil stew).

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store Niter Kibbeh in a covered container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently over low heat before using.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Calories: 920 per serving


Carbohydrates: 0g per serving


Total Fat: 102g per serving

Saturated Fat: 65g per serving


Protein: 0g per serving

Vitamins and minerals



Contains dairy


Niter Kibbeh is a high-fat ingredient, primarily consisting of saturated fats. It is low in carbohydrates and protein.


Ethiopian Curried Butter, or Niter Kibbeh, is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that adds depth and richness to Ethiopian dishes. With a blend of spices and herbs, it is a key component in traditional Ethiopian cooking.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately drawn to it. Ethiopian Curried Butter. It sounded exotic, flavorful, and unlike anything I had ever tried before. I had always been a lover of spices and bold flavors, so I knew I had to learn how to make this dish.

I first came across the recipe for Ethiopian Curried Butter at a potluck dinner I attended many years ago. A friend of mine had brought it to the gathering, and as soon as I took my first bite, I was hooked. The rich, creamy texture of the butter combined with the spicy kick of the curry and the hint of sweetness from the spices was a flavor explosion in my mouth.

I immediately asked my friend for the recipe, and she was kind enough to share it with me. She had learned how to make it from her Ethiopian grandmother, who had passed down the recipe through generations. I was excited to learn how to make this traditional Ethiopian dish and add it to my own repertoire of recipes.

I gathered all the ingredients I needed – butter, curry powder, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and a few other spices that I had never used before. I followed the recipe carefully, melting the butter in a pan and adding the spices one by one. The aroma that filled my kitchen was intoxicating, and I couldn't wait to taste the finished product.

When the Ethiopian Curried Butter was finally done, I eagerly dipped a piece of bread into it and took a bite. The flavors exploded in my mouth – the warmth of the curry, the earthiness of the turmeric, the heat from the ginger and garlic. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted before, and I knew that this recipe would become a staple in my kitchen.

I made Ethiopian Curried Butter for my family and friends, and they all raved about it. They couldn't believe that I had made something so delicious and exotic. I felt a sense of pride knowing that I had mastered this traditional Ethiopian recipe and could share it with others.

Over the years, I have continued to make Ethiopian Curried Butter, tweaking the recipe here and there to suit my own tastes. I have added a bit more spice for an extra kick, or a touch of sweetness to balance out the flavors. Each time I make it, I am transported back to that first potluck dinner where I first fell in love with this dish.

I have shared the recipe for Ethiopian Curried Butter with many people over the years, passing it down just like my friend's grandmother did. I love knowing that this recipe will continue to be enjoyed and shared for generations to come. Cooking is a way to connect with others, to share a piece of your culture and heritage with those around you.

Learning how to make Ethiopian Curried Butter has been a journey of discovery and delight for me. It has opened my eyes to new flavors and ingredients, and has allowed me to connect with a culture that is different from my own. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow through cooking, and I look forward to continuing to explore new recipes and traditions in the years to come.


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