Spices usually captivate us by themselves, delivering their charms on every note we perceive. But at the same time, they are so fascinating that mixing some of them can create amazing aromas and flavors, enhancing and magically combining their properties. In addition, colors are so striking that they invite us to fall into the temptation to try them and succumb to their charms.
This is the case of berbere, an intense orange-red powder that comes from Ethiopia, where Arab and Indian customs are intertwined with intense aromas and warm sensations. As well as the masalas in India, it seems that each family or person has a special touch in the spices they add to their mix.
Berebere in Depth
It will be up to you and your preferences to choose with which combination you will live your Berebere experience. If you review the literature you will find many of the spices that are used in this mixture, here we will name only some of them: long pepper, chili peppers, fenugreek, ginger, cloves, coriander seeds, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
For its intense flavor and complex aroma can be used in almost everything, either in powder or as a dense paste. Normally, they add it to steamed or boiled vegetables such as: cauliflower, carrots, pumpkin, as well as stewed meats, chicken, ragu and legumes. There is a typical Ethiopian dish called wat, where berbere is the main ingredient.
If you don’t get it in specialized stores, they could prepare it at home, without any problem. Put to toast in a pan (without oil) all the spices they have like (fruits, seeds, stems, flowers), then process or grind them in a mortar and there add spices that have powder, mix them and it’s ready. They should be stored in a clean, dry container, tightly closed and then kept away from moisture, light and heat.
Mymit It is a spicy powder seasoning largely used in Ethiopian cuisine. It is orange-red in color and contains chili peppers, cardamom seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, ginger and salt. It is used for the kitfo (raw meat dish) and also for chicken dishes, cheese, yogurt or cream cheese, so basically you can use this marvelous powder with almost everything.
It can also be sprinkled on the beans, or as a dip in baked potatoes or vegetables, or even in the salad sauce, to give it a spicy touch, so when eating Ethiopian dishes be careful, if you’re not into hot, spicy meals, you need to tell the chef in advance.
Surely tasting this mixture will present an explosion of aromas, so try to enjoy it, open your senses to new things, take an adventurous trip into Ethiopian cuisine and for this we recommend that you prepare a very special dish, put a music that elevates you, that you share with those people you’re eating with and make them vibrate and that they take the time to taste every bite.