Pronounced ber-beray, the Berbere Spice Blend is a popular spice mix and key ingredient in the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea. We make it from a heady mix of ginger, chilis, coriander, cinnamon, black pepper garlic, allspice, red pepper, and other spices. Berbere spice has a coarse earthy texture and robust spiciness.
Berbere Spice Blend adds rich and spicy flavor when used as a rub for red meat or poultry, whether roasting, grilling, barbecuing or frying. Add a little liquid to turn Berbere Spice into a paste, to add to stir-fry dishes, soups, casseroles, or as a base for African-style curries.
The ingredients in Berbere Spice, like Indian curry or even "Italian seasoning" vary from kitchen to kitchen in North Africa. One unifying factor in the many varieties of Berbere Spice is that the blends embrace the heat from chilies, including long pepper. Traditionally, Berbere Spice is used in stews and lentil dishes called wats.
An interesting thing to consider about Berbere Spice Blend is that, though it is synonymous with Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking, none of the key ingredients in this mix actually are native to that part of the world! TableFare.com calls this an excellent illustration of the immense cultural influence of the international spice trade, before Europeans began to explore and colonize the "exotic" spice growing parts of the world. Arab traders brought spices overland from Asia through northern Africa, on their way to Alexandria and Venice, and their wares found their way into the cuisines of people along their travel routes.
Ingredients: Paprika, salt, coriander, chiles, onion, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, other spices