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Niter Kibbeh

Niter Kibbeh


We’ve been on a bit of an Ethiopian cooking streak lately. There are so many similar spice combinations and cooking techniques as the Indian cuisines, eating Ethiopian food feels both new and familiar. This week, we’re making Niter Kibbeh - like ghee it is a clarified butter but with the addition of spices. Use it as a base for doro wat - start the dish by caramelizing onions in the spiced butter before adding Berbere and paprika. The result is an extra layer of flavor. Or simply use it to cook rice or vegetables. You can use it as simple table butter, spreading it on toast, topping pancakes and waffles, or brush onto a hot biscuit.

One quick note - Niter Kibbeh is usually made with two traditional spices - Besobela and Koseret. We have been working on sourcing these herbs from Ethiopia and will be excited to add them to our ever growing list of spices. Besobela is related to holy basil and Koseret to lemon verbena so we will be substituting with those herbs from now.


1/2 lb unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
2 Cloves
1 inch piece True Cinnamon
2 Black Cardamom Pods
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
1/2 tsp Tulsi
1/2 tsp Lemon Verbena
1/2 tsp Oregano, Turkish
Pinch of Turmeric
Pinch of Nutmeg
1/2 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 in piece of Ginger, peeled and minced


Place all ingredients in a small pot over low heat. Watch over the pot for the next 15 minutes. The butter will foam and the solids will separate.

When the butter stops foaming and becomes clear with pieces of solid fat at the top, the Niter Kibbeh is ready.

Strain and let cool. Save the remaining spices, onions, ginger, and garlic and use to flavor your next dish.


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