Ethiopia is a land rich with cultural heritage. They also produce a few tasty dishes. The African influence and various occupations from colonial powers have made it a real melting pot of cuisines. Take a look at our list of Ethiopian recipes and see for yourself! They are easy to make and not your run of the mill for the next time you plan a dinner party.
In most cultures, you’ll find bread that is unique to the region. Ethiopia is certainly no different. Injera is unleavened bread that is really easy to make. It forms little bubbles that make it the perfect vehicle for soaking up flavorful sauces when it is fried.
They are also pretty awesome if you want to make an Ethiopian-style wrap too. There are two variations, light and dark. This depends entirely on the type of flour used.
Ethiopian recipes don’t come much more authentic than this. Don’t know what Doro wat is? Oh, it’s only the national dish of Ethiopia!
If you go to an Ethiopian restaurant, we guarantee that they will have this on the menu. As to what it is, well… It is a very spicy chicken stew. It really isn’t for the faint-hearted.
You will need to steer clear if you don’t like spice as it is seriously strong in the chili department.
If you want to make this traditionally, you will need a crockpot or dutch oven. This is cooked over a low light for several hours. Be sure to use chicken on the bone, that way, you’ll get all of those juices from the dark meat.
What do you get if you cross a stir-fry with a stew? Tibs is the answer. This is another famous Ethiopian dish. It isn’t quite as saucy as a stew, nor is it as dry as a normal stir-fry.
This dish is flavored with Berbere spice. This can get a little fiery, so aire on the side of caution, and remember you can always add more later. Our recipe contains sauteed meat with a few juicy vegetables.
We love to serve this on in a large dish in the middle of the table with a pile of injera next to it, then everyone can help themselves.
If you haven’t had Shiro before, you are in for a real treat. It is a kind of chickpea stew cooked down before being blended into a smooth paste and flavored with various spices. It is popular in Ethiopia as it is very filling but very cheap and easy to make. We stew our chickpeas with onions, tomato, and few spoons of berbere. Once it is cooked and soft, we blend it before serving it with a flatbread. This also makes for a great dip cold, especially with potato chips.
You may never have heard of gomen before, but we have got some good news. It is essentially collard greens with a few extra herbs and spices. This dish is really tasty and, because of its vivid green color, is a great way to enliven an otherwise bland plate. The traditional method is to wilt piles of greens in something called niteh kibbeh, which is clarified butter. Still, if you can’t find it (and we wouldn’t blame you), then normal butter works just as well. A good substitute in a pinch is Indian ghee.
These crunchy fried pastries are the stuff of legends. You’ll normally find them in Ethiopian restaurants in the appetizers.
Consider them a sort of Ethiopian samosa, and you are halfway there. The choice of filling is entirely up to you.
We’ve tried them with stewed and spicy chicken, but the traditional filling is a mixture of rich and filling spicy lentils.
Oh, and a top tip. You might be tempted to bake them, don’t. The only way to get that signature crunch is by deep-frying them.
Ok, look. This one won’t be for everyone. But if you love trying new things and sampling dishes from different cultures, then this one is a must. Have you ever had steak tartare? If so, then this isn’t a million miles away. It’s just the Ethiopian version. Kitfo is rare minced beef mixed with a chili spice mix and melted butter. It is often mixed with gomen.
If the raw version doesn’t quite take your fancy (we can’t say we blame you, you can still get all the taste by cooking it. We find this one is a great filling for the sambusas above.
If you like dishes that are strong on flavor and really filling, this might be one to go for. Quanta Firfir is a sort of mashup of dried meat, pieces of flatbread, garlic, onions, and other spices.
The ingredients are all fried in a pan before adding stock, which can bubble down to make a tasty and rich sauce.
If you cant get dried meat, don’t worry. To make a more westernized version of this dish, you can just use steak. We tried making it with beef jerky, but the results were less than optimal. We’d recommend using thin frying steak.
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This is an Ethiopian beef stew. It contains a familiar spice, berbere.
The predominant part of this is chili, so use it sparingly. This is actually a really easy recipe to make. If you can assemble a stir-fry, then you should have no trouble.
We fry cubes of beef until browned and set them aside. We blend a couple of onions and add them to the pan with the spice mix.
Once this is fragrant, we throw the beef back in with some garlic and a cup of water before turning it down to a low setting.
As the beef cooks, it softens and becomes tender. It also soaks up all of the spices. Think of it kind of like a hot marinade. We finish the sauce off with a big cup of butter before serving with a few injeras.
Don’t feel left out if you are a vegetarian. In fact, most Ethiopian recipes are vegetarian! This is a super popular dish in Ethiopia, and it is surprisingly easy to make.
Misir wat is a spicy lentil stew. It is made super rich and tasty with the addition of clarified butter. The key to getting a nice textured dish is to rinse your lentils.
This stops the starch from making the lentils stick together. We add tomatoes, spice mix, onions, garlic before letting the whole thing simmer down.
Don’t stir this dish too much, or you’ll puree the lentils. If you need to move things around, just give the pan a gentle shake.
By now, we guess you are wondering what ‘wot’ means? Well, here is the answer. It means ‘spicy hot’… Now you know why it often appears, as Ethiopian food is crazy spicy!
The Ethiopian dish is traditionally made with goat, but we use lamb instead. The good news is that apart from the goat, you’ll be able to find the rest of the ingredients in your local store.
We add finger chilis, turmeric, garlic, and ginger. We bulk it up with a few chopped onions and a couple of potatoes.
To make we add onions and lamb to a dutch oven, along with a half cup of butter. Once browned, we top it up with the rest of the ingredients before leaving for around 3 hours on low heat.
The meat turns really tender and delicious. It is really a melt-in-the-mouth dish. Feel free to leave the chili out if you don’t like too much spice.
Siga tibs have to be one of the easiest (and tastiest) Ethiopian recipes to make. It is a really simple stir-fry made of juicy cuts of ribeye steak.
This is fried alongside red onions, spicy butter, and a few hot chillis. That is really it! A plate of steak cubes might not be to everyone’s liking, so we tend to serve this one with a nice side salad.
As is the Ethiopian tradition, a few injeras to pad it out!
Berbere Spiced Chicken
In our list of Ethiopian dishes, you’ll have noticed that an ingredient features heavily (no, it isn’t injera). We are talking about berbere spice.
We’d better tell you what’s in it. Berbere is used in practically all Ethiopian dishes. It consists of bird’s eye chili, pepper, cumin, cardamom, cloves, salt, paprika, and ginger.
The dominant spice is the bird’s eye chili. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Ethiopian recipes is that the chili is not native to the country!
To make this chicken dish is really easy. We mix a tablespoon of berbere spice with a cup of butter. We roll this into sausages and chill it until firm.
When it is time to cook, we insert our berbere butter into a gap between the breast and the skin before roasting for ours. This butter soaks into the chicken, giving it a spicy and savory taste.
If you are making an Ethiopian main course, you don’t want to spoil it by serving it with something boring. Why not make an Ethiopian side dish too?
Atkilt is cabbage and potatoes mixed with carrots. If that sounds boring, wait until you hear this. We add turmeric, peppers, and ginger along with a dash of cumin.
We start by softening an onion. We then add a handful of shredded carrots and chopped cabbage; we finish it off with a few potato cubes.
Once the mixture goes all fragrant, we add enough water to cover and let it simmer until it reduces. The potatoes break up and create a sort of thick sauce that holds all of the flavors. Give this one a try. It’s really special.
You’ll have noticed many stews and stir-fries so far on our list of Ethiopian dishes. Well, that’s about to change. How would you like a fresh and light salad?
Azifa is a mix of green lentils, chili peppers, tomatoes, and red onions. If you want this recipe right, be sure to chop everything as fine as possible.
We then mix the above ingredients with Dijon mustard, lime juice, and a little ginger powder. This one has to be tasted to be believed. It is sort of a cross between a salsa and a salad.
This is another great Ethiopian recipe for vegetarians. It is entirely meat-free. What’s it about? Well, mushrooms, lots of mushrooms!
This dish is laden with flavor and is a real midweek treat. If you’ve managed to source the (now infamous) berbere powder, you are good to go.
We fry onions in butter until soft before adding the mushrooms and some tomatoes. While they are cooking, we make a loose sauce from oil, berbere, and a splash of water. From there, it is just a case of tipping the sauce in until it covers all of the ingredients.
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We know what you are thinking. This isn’t an Ethiopian recipe. Au contraire! Ethiopia was under the colonial rule of Italy.
As a result, coffee culture is as vibrant there as it is in Rome or Naples! A nice steaming cup of macchiato is the perfect way to round up an Ethiopian meal.
It is super simple to make and is a mix of bitter and strong espresso, topped with a layer of foamed milk.
Wow, well, there you have it, 17 Ethiopian recipes for you to have a go at! It might be obvious, but the one ingredient you really need is berbere powder. After that, you’ll likely have the rest at home or be able to find it at the store. Ethiopian food is spicy but very tasty.
Which was your favorite, and have you tried any before? Let us know in the comments. We love hearing from you guys.