Berbere Recipe - How to Make Ethiopian Spice Mix

¼ cup New Mexico chili pepper

¼ cup Hungarian paprika

2 teaspoons freeze-dried red onion

2 teaspoons freeze-dried garlic

2 teaspoons whole black cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon whole ajwain seeds (Nech Azmud)

¼ teaspoon whole black cumin seeds (Tikur Azmud)

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 whole segments

2 teaspoons dried Ethiopian besobela (holy basil)

½ teaspoon salt

Place the whole spices (black cardamom, ajawain seeds, and black cumin seeds) on a pan over medium-low heat and toast for about 2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent them from burning. Cool for a while, then grind in a spice grinder with the dried Ethiopian besobela. Add all the other ingredients and grind again to mix all the spices. This recipe results in a milder berbere, but has all the good flavor of berbere.


Add your favorite chili powder to make it spicier.


Store in an airtight container for up to one year.

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Something about me

Are you interested in learning how to cook Ethiopian food? if so, I’d like to share with you some of the Ethiopian dishes I cook at home. My name is Eleni. I was born and raised in Ethiopia. I came to the United States about 19 years ago. I live with my husband and two children (ages 10 and 12) in the beautiful state of Oregon, near Portland. I’m a restaurateur, a cooking teacher and a farmer’s market vendor – and everything I do is exclusively related to Ethiopian food. Now I created this blog to share recipes, tips and ingredients to make it easier to prepare Ethiopian food at home.

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