Berbere Spice Mix – Dani Valent

An African spice blend that takes a meal from blah to kapow

If you like life a little spicy, then you need berbere (bair-bair-eh) to be part of it. This building block of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine takes any dish from ‘hmm’ to ‘hooray’, adding complex flavours and aromas, plus a decent spicy kick. I use it in a spiced butter that’s drizzled over my Genfo Barley Porridge but there are so many other ways you can use it! See below for more ideas.

Makes: 1 cup
Time: 10 minutes


  • 2 tbsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp salt flakes
  • ½ tsp peppercorns
  • 3 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • tiny piece nutmeg
  • 2 cloves

Thermomix Method

1. Add all spices to mixing bowl and toast 7 min/Varoma/speed 1, then blend 45 secs/speed 10.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Traditional Method

1. Add all spices to a heavy-based frypan and toast gently, stirring often, until fragrant.
2. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, or coffee grinder, and grind to a fine powder.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.


  • Use this Berbere as a dry rub for ribs, steaks or chicken, or add oil and use it as a marinade.
  • Blend with butter and use on steamed corn cobs or in garlic bread.
  • Berbere will keep for a month or two, then the flavours will be a little muted.


  • Adjust chilli levels to suit your tastes.

More about this recipe

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