Ethiopian Herb Mix Recipe

Ethiopian Herb Mix

Ethiopian Herb Mix Recipe
Region / culture: Ethiopia | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 2 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Ethiopian Herb Mix
Ethiopian Herb Mix

Ethiopian Herb Mix, also known as Berbere, is a flavorful and aromatic spice blend that is commonly used in Ethiopian cuisine. This mix adds a unique and complex flavor profile to dishes, making it a staple in Ethiopian cooking.


Berbere has a long history in Ethiopian cuisine, dating back centuries. It is believed to have originated in the Ethiopian region and has since become a popular spice blend used in various dishes such as stews, meats, and vegetables.


How to prepare

  1. In a small frying pan, toast cumin, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, allspice, fenugreek, and coriander on low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Remove from heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Discard the stems from the chilies.
  4. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, finely grind the toasted spices and chilies together.
  5. Mix in the remaining ingredients.
  6. Store the mixture in a well-sealed jar in the refrigerator.


  • You can customize the spice blend by adjusting the amount of chili peppers to make it spicier or milder according to your preference. You can also add other spices such as paprika or turmeric for a different flavor profile.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

When toasting the whole spices, be sure to keep a close eye on them as they can burn quickly. Toasting the spices helps to release their essential oils and enhance their flavors.

Serving Suggestions

Use Ethiopian Herb Mix to season meats, vegetables, or lentils for a flavorful and aromatic dish. It can also be used as a rub for grilled meats or added to soups and stews for an extra kick of flavor.

Cooking Techniques

Toasting the whole spices before grinding them helps to enhance their flavors and aromas. Be sure to grind the spices finely for a smooth and consistent blend.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don't have all the whole spices on hand, you can use pre-ground spices instead. However, the flavor may not be as robust as using whole spices.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare a large batch of Ethiopian Herb Mix and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Presentation Ideas

Serve dishes seasoned with Ethiopian Herb Mix on a bed of rice or injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread, for an authentic presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Ethiopian Herb Mix pairs well with dishes such as Doro Wat (Ethiopian chicken stew), Misir Wat (Ethiopian lentil stew), or Tibs (Ethiopian stir-fry).

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store Ethiopian Herb Mix in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. To reheat, simply sprinkle the spice blend over your dish and heat it up on the stove or in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Calories: 20 per serving


Carbohydrates: 2g per serving


Fats: 1g per serving


Proteins: 1g per serving

Vitamins and minerals

Berbere is a good source of iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A.


This recipe may contain traces of gluten and nuts.


Berbere is a low-calorie spice blend that is rich in essential vitamins and minerals.


Ethiopian Herb Mix is a versatile and flavorful spice blend that adds depth and complexity to dishes. With its rich history and unique flavor profile, it is a must-have in any kitchen.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of finding this recipe for the first time is still fresh in my mind. It was many years ago, during one of my travels to Ethiopia. I had always been intrigued by the rich and diverse culinary traditions of different cultures, and Ethiopia was no exception. The vibrant colors, bold flavors, and unique combinations of spices and herbs captivated me from the moment I arrived.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with a local family in a small village, learning about their traditional cooking methods and recipes. One day, as I was helping the matriarch of the family prepare a meal, she introduced me to a special ingredient that would change the way I cooked forever - Ethiopian herb mix.

The herb mix was a complex blend of herbs and spices, each carefully selected to create a harmonious and aromatic flavor profile. The matriarch explained to me that this mix was a staple in Ethiopian cuisine, used in a variety of dishes to add depth and complexity to the flavors.

I was fascinated by the process of making this herb mix and eagerly watched as the matriarch ground the herbs and spices together using a traditional mortar and pestle. The fragrant aroma that filled the kitchen was intoxicating, and I knew that I had to learn how to make this herb mix for myself.

Over the course of my stay in Ethiopia, I spent hours with the matriarch, learning the intricacies of the herb mix and how to use it in different dishes. She shared with me the importance of balance and harmony in Ethiopian cooking, and how each ingredient in the herb mix played a crucial role in creating the perfect blend of flavors.

When it was time for me to leave Ethiopia and return home, the matriarch gifted me with a small bag of the herb mix, along with a handwritten recipe that she had passed down through generations. I treasured this gift and vowed to continue the tradition of making this herb mix in my own kitchen.

Back home, I wasted no time in recreating the herb mix and incorporating it into my cooking. The first dish I made was a traditional Ethiopian stew, known as Doro Wat, which featured tender chicken simmered in a rich and spicy sauce made with the herb mix. The flavors were incredible - warm and earthy with a hint of heat, perfectly balanced and incredibly satisfying.

As I continued to experiment with the herb mix, I discovered its versatility and how it could elevate even the simplest of dishes. I used it to season roasted vegetables, marinate meats, and even sprinkle over salads for a burst of flavor.

Over the years, I have shared this recipe with friends and family, passing on the tradition of Ethiopian cooking that I had learned during my travels. Each time I make the herb mix, I am transported back to that small village in Ethiopia, surrounded by the sights and sounds of a culture rich in history and tradition.

The Ethiopian herb mix has become a staple in my kitchen, a reminder of the incredible experiences and friendships I have made throughout my culinary journey. I am grateful for the matriarch who first introduced me to this special ingredient, and for the opportunity to carry on the tradition of Ethiopian cooking in my own home.

As I sit down to enjoy a meal seasoned with the herb mix, I am filled with gratitude for the memories and flavors that have shaped my love of cooking. It is a reminder of the power of food to connect us to different cultures and traditions, and the joy that comes from sharing a delicious meal with loved ones.


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