Ethiopian cooking is built on three building blocks:
INJERA- the local sour, spongy bread that is served with each meal
NIT'IR QIBE- a spiced butter that provides a rich base
BERBERE- a complex blend of chili peppers and spices that gives the cuisine its signature flavors
Berbere is pronounces ber-ber-ee. It is added to Ethipian stews such as doro wett or tibs wett. It can be spicy--if you or your children do not enjoy spice OR if you cannot find dried serrano chilies, I recommend you leave them out of this recipe. I have made this once without this ingredient and once with it. It is fantastic both ways, but the dried serrano chilies are extremely hot. Adjust this recipe and how much you add to other recipes accordingly.
I recently made a batch and put it in an airtight container on my counter. Sometimes I like to open it for a smell. It makes me happy. Transports me to Ethiopia for a moment.
Here is what it will look like:
1 tsp fenugreek
1/2 cup ground dried serrano chilies
1/2 cup paprika
2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Stir together and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
*Recipe was taken from The Soul Of A New Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus is Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised. He was adopted as a young boy. He owns four restaurants.