People all over the world are becoming increasingly interested traditional Ethiopian recipes as they have become more health conscious. This is making it easier to find delicious and nutritious food that is healthy as well.
Traditional Ethiopian food is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world because it uses plenty of vegetables, beans, and lentils, which contain fiber, complex carbohydrates, and proteins that can help you feel full longer and stay energized all day long.
Are you planning a trip to Ethiopia or want to explore the traditional Ethiopian cuisine further from home, this guide will answer your questions about all of the authentic Ethiopian recipes and provide tasty dishes you can make at home with simple ingredients found in most supermarkets.
The Basics of Ethiopian Cuisine
Traditional Ethiopian cuisine combines traditional African, Middle Eastern, Indian, and European cooking styles. Traditional Ethiopian food consists of stews served on a large platter called Siga.
They are traditionally eaten with the hands out of one large piece of injera (pancake-like bread) that acts as both utensils and dishware. Their staple meal is Injera (sourdough flatbread) which has been around for centuries.
It is made from Teff flour or barley flour, known for its nutritional value, fermented with wild yeast giving it a tangy flavor. Ethiopians use this traditional sourdough pancake-like bread in lieu of utensils or plates when eating their favorite dishes.
However, a small portion of wheat, rice, ensete, sorghum, cornmeal, and millet are also used for making injera in various parts of Ethiopia.
5 Most Popular Ethiopian Dishes
1. Tibs (Sauteed Meat Chunks)
This “go-to traditional Ethiopian food is meat dish combination containing meat, such as lamb or beef, onions, tomatoes, and other ingredients (like Berbere spice) that are sauted. The final product is spicy, savory, and tender. Some diners prefer their tibs with a side of Injera bread; others enjoy using it to scoop up stews.
2. Kitfo (Ethiopian Beef Tartare)
Kitfo is a traditional Ethiopian recipe for a raw beef dish seasoned with herbs, spices, and niter kibbeh (an Ethiopian clarified butter). This dish typically comes with a side of spicy herby Gomen (collard greens) or mitmita (roasted ground red pepper).
Kitfo can be enjoyed as an appetizer or entre. Add more niter kibbeh for those who want their dish spicier. It should not be confused with the similar sounding Kitfo Leb Leb which translates to raw beef jerky and is not eaten by hand but instead served on top of injera or rice.
3. Injera (Sourdough Flatbread)
Ethiopians eat most of their food on a large, spongy bread called injera. Made from teff flour (Teff is an ancient grain from Ethiopia), this authentic Ethiopian recipe is cooked on a flat grill called a Mitad. As the dough cooks, bubbles form and then pop.
These bubbles make injera porous so that when it’s ready to serve, you have to rip off pieces with your hands and use them like utensils for scooping up sauces or picking out individual veggies in a salad.
4. Berbere (Typical Spice Blend)
Berbere is a spice blend that includes cardamom, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika (smoked or regular), salt, and pepper. Traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, Berbere can also be made in a coffee grinder.
This authentic Ethiopian recipe spice blend is used on almost every traditional Ethiopian food.
When shopping for this spice blend, remember that while they may contain different amounts of the same ingredients, no two blends will taste exactly alike. If you are having trouble finding this spice mix at your local grocery store, try ordering it online or making your own!
5. Shiro be Kibbe (Legume Stew)
Shiro be Kibbe is a traditional Ethiopian food, this thick warm stew usually made with a combination of white beans (butter beans or large limas) and chickpeas.
After boiling these legumes until they are soft, red onions, garlic cloves, salt, cayenne pepper, and Berbere spice mix are added for flavor. If you would like to kick things up a notch, add more cayenne pepper or some crushed hot peppers.
5 Most Popular Questions About Ethiopian Food
1. What is special about traditional Ethiopian food?
The unique thing about Ethiopian food is the flavors and spices used, such as ginger, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, black pepper, and salt. This makes it an excellent choice for gluten-free people or celiac disease because they can enjoy these dishes without the worry of cross-contamination from wheat products.
2. What is traditional Ethiopian food influenced by?
Christianity and Islam heavily influence Ethiopian cuisine. Ethiopia was a Christian country until Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown by his Marxist military forces. Today, most Ethiopians are Orthodox Christians, though many Muslims still live in the country and eat their traditional foods.
3. What is the national dish of Ethiopia?
Doro Wat is one of the most popular authentic Ethiopian recipes in the country and consists of chicken boiled with onion, green peppers, cumin, turmeric, and other spices. It’s a mild dish with a sauce enriched with butter and heavy cream.
4. Why do Ethiopians eat with their hands?
Traditional Ethiopian food is eaten with ones hands. This is a sign of respect that reflects how important the meal is to them.
5. What is the name of Ethiopian bread?
Injera is often referred to as Ethiopian bread but is more similar to a crepe. Made from Teff flour (a type of whole grain), it is fermented overnight and cooked on a griddle until bubbles form. You break off pieces and use them like utensils to scoop up your food!
25 Traditional Ethiopian Recipes for Healthy Meals
Ethiopian Homemade Injera Bread Recipe: Make classic Ethiopian sourdough crepes at home, to serve with all your favorite Ethiopian food dishes. Probably the most cooked traditional Ethiopian recipes dish in EthiopIa.
Several major American cities have large Ethiopian populations with amazing restaurants and markets throughout. Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas are among the largest.
A classic Ethiopian platter that you receive in a restaurant, is full of
There is a reason why Doro Wat is an authentic Ethiopian recipe and the national dish of Ethiopia and one of the most famous of all African dishes – it’s fabulous! This authentic Doro Wat recipe captures the very best of Ethiopian cooking!
Doro Wat is Ethiopian food traditionally made very spicy. Super spicy. Like I-don’t-know-how-Ethiopians-have-any-taste-buds-left spicy. Western adaptations are still spicy, but quite tame compared to the real deal.
Ethiopian Lentil Stew – a healthy vegan traditional Ethiopian recipes spiced Lentil Stew laced with homemade Berbere spice and Niter kibbeh or spiced butter. You will love every spoonful of this protein and fiber-packed Ethiopian food and won’t even miss the meat!
To some people, Lentils may be synonymous with “dull and boring.” However, dull and boring doesn’t even come close to describing this spiced Ethiopian stewed lentils. It’s rich, layered, and full of complex flavors.
Awaze Tibs (Ethiopian beef tibs) is a spicy Ethiopian stir-fry that is so versatile, and you can eat it in different ways. It Ethiopian food with a rich, bold, ethnic flavor and is ready in just 25 minutes!
The sauce in this authentic Ethiopian recipe gets its kick from Berbere, an Ethiopian Chile powder fragrant with cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. Use it once and you’ll see why a good chunk of Ethiopian cuisine is built on it.
This is one of my favorite traditional Ethiopian recipes and one of Ethiopia’s most popular vegetarian dishes, Misir Wat showcases lentils in a way that’s unlike any you’ve had before. The flavor is simply out of this world! Vegetarian-friendly and so delicious that even devout carnivores won’t miss the meat!
It’s been said that the best vegetarian cuisines in the world are Indian and Ethiopian food and I can’t disagree. The flavor profiles of both cuisines bring even the blandest ingredients to life with their rich combinations of spices and herbs.
Peanut butter and okra flavor and thicken this tasty African stew. You can substitute green beans for the okra, if you like; the consistency of the sauce won’t be quite the same, but it will still be thick enough to cling to the chicken.
Chicken, peanut butter flavor, okra, and a thick sauce. All of these ingredients combined sound like it’ll turn out well. Meaty and tasty, it did turn out well.
This delicious Beef Stew is one of the traditional Ethiopian recipes I cook often. The stew is a super quick and easy way to make an authentic Minchet Abish. It’s spiced with a wonderful Ethiopian spice mix called Berbere that you can make at home as well!
This Ethiopian Beef Stew is packed with Ethiopian flavor thanks to the Berbere spice mix. It’s lightly spicy, but not cayenne spicy. In fact, this is a dish that even your kids might enjoy!
This is an authentic Ethiopian recipe for sweet potato that burgers are something special. They’re made from deliciously spiced patties with the addition of an aioli inspired by Nitter Kibbeh, also known as Ethiopian butter.
If that isn’t enough to make you want to drop everything and make these burgers right now, a spice-infused oil weaves its magic through the burger and right into the sauce. Ginger, garlic, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, paprika, and cayenne will fill your kitchen with a hypnotic aroma.
9. Genfo Recipe
Genfo, which is a traditional Ethiopian recipe for porridge in Amharic, is a well-known authentic Ethiopian recipe, comfort dish and breakfast Ethiopian food, traditionally enjoyed by recovering new mothers.
In Ethiopia, it can be made using wheat, barley, or maize, enriched with Berbere and niter kibbeh. For this recipe, we will keep it simple and use wheat to make our Genfo.
Check out these Ethiopian chicken drumsticks from Hank Shaw! The Berbere spice mix is outstanding.
This authentic Ethiopian recipe sounds a lot more exotic than it really is. It is a recipe I’ve been making, on and off, for 20 years, and it’s nothing more than chicken drumsticks coated in oil or melted butter, dusted with a dry spice rub and baked — or slow-cooked on the barbecue.
This traditional Ethiopian food for Chechebsa (sometimes called Kita Fir Fir in Ethiopia) is an authentic Ethiopian recipe for a popular breakfast dish. It’s starts with preparing a batter that’s fried to make a large flatbread called Kita.
The Kita is then torn into small pieces and is mixed with Berbere and Niter Kibbeh spiced butter until it’s a moist and soft mixture. Chechebsa can be served warm or at room temperature.
Timatim is an authentic Ethiopian recipes and delightful little tomato side salad often served on top of Injera in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. Timatim is a welcome bite after the very spicy wat dishes.
This is often times made with the injera bread ripped up and added to the tomato salad and served for leftovers. It is called Fir Fir when served like that.
Ethiopian Collard Greens aka Ye’abasha Gomen- Braised collard greens and kale seasoned with aromatics. Quick, easy, and tasty.
If you are looking for an easy, flavorful, and downright addictive way of trying out collard greens or kale then you are in luck. I have tried this traditional Ethiopian food using both greens using this method and they both work great.
Central to Ethiopian cuisine is Berbere – a fiery hot spice blend bursting with flavor! Now you can make your own right at home with our homemade Berbere recipe!
Berbere is a hot spice blend that is an integral ingredient in Ethiopian cuisine. Both full of flavor and heat, this spice is not for the faint of heart – or taste buds. Every Ethiopian cook has their own version of this blend
My Ethiopian friend brought this traditional Ethiopian food to a potluck and I’ve been making it ever since. It is healthy and delicious. Do not add liquid. The cabbage and potatoes release enough moisture on their own.
Authentic Ethiopian recipe for a mushroom sauté that is simple to make but tastes wonderfully complex. Ingudai means mushroom and tibs means to sauce.
NOTE: For the Berbere spice, use your favorite blend, or sub garam masala and some cayenne pepper.
If you love authentic Ethiopian food and just can’t quite figure out how to replicate that flavor at home, you may be missing the ultimate secret ingredient: Niter Kibbeh!
Niter Kibbeh (Nit’ir Qibe) is an ingredient integral to Ethiopian cuisine and is made by clarifying butter that has been infused with herbs and spices. In the process of clarifying the spiced butter, the same process used to make ghee,
Ethiopian Pomegranate Rice Pilaf is an easy to follow recipe, which is made by first crisping a part of the rice in spiced butter and adding it with cooked rice along with some pomegranate seeds.
This is another authentic Ethiopian recipes I’m posting here in the blog. I’m totally in love with the cuisine. Just like Indian cuisine, Ethiopian cuisine is also popular for the spices and aromatic flavors. Recently, I’m trying to use some of the Ethiopian spices and formulate them into my recipes.
When looking at the historic traditional Ethiopian recipes and rich food dishes of Ethiopia and Eritrea one course is often overlooked. Everyone knows about the savory and onion-rich wat stews as well as the spicy and satisfying tibs stir fry.
One such appetizer is a smoky eggplant dip. Seen as the Ethiopian version of Baba Ganoush, this savory, smoky, sweet, spicy meal is sure to have you salivating for more.
Whether you pair it with fermented injera bread or even some good old American crackers, this spread is anything but boring.
20. Berbere Potatoes
An authentic Ethiopian recipes for Berbere Potatoes made with simple ingredients and flavorful Berbere spice. Vegan and gluten-free, this makes for a flavorful healthy side dish.
This recipe for Berber Potatoes was not really planned but turned out so tasty, I just wanted to share! Thinly sliced thin-skinned potatoes are layered with a tomato-y Berbere-infused broth of sorts, then baked until meltingly tender.
21. Ethiopian Spris
Ethiopian Spris is a layered pureed fruit smoothie drink that’s absolutely delicious. Made with fresh papaya, mango, and avocado. Without a doubt, one of the most refreshing and delicious drinks I’ve ever had!
What can I say about this drink other than it being delicious, beautiful, and refreshing? Brings summer and tropical vibes. I absolutely loved this beverage. The avocado makes it super creamy and the mango and papaya add amazing sweetness. It’s the ultimate summer drink!
22. Tej or Tejj
“Tej, or tejj, is a traditional Ethiopian recipe for sweet wine, similar to mead, that is typically made from fermented honey and a special kind of hops called gesho. It is traditionally served from a vase-like vessel called a berele.
If you can’t find Tej or mead in your neighborhood, this recipe is a rough approximation. I tried this once at an Ethiopian wedding and it’s quite delicious! Enjoy!”
Did you know that Ethiopia is one of the top coffee producers in Africa? We’re celebrating their amazing coffee flavors with an elegant dessert (a modern fusion); Ethiopian coffee mousse.
What is more decadent than a rich coffee flavor topped with dark caramel and smooth, sweet banana? Topped off with a crisp coffee tuile. Try this coffee mousse recipe.
What is it: Also called ‘Ambasha’, this is a authentic Ethiopian recipes for a decorative Ethiopian sweet flatbread that tastes as unique as it looks. Characterized by the typical wheel-like pattern, it is a common dish for Christmas. The flatbread can be consumed both as a dessert after a light meal, and a breakfast independently.
What does it taste like: Its sweet and savory flavor is balanced perfectly by the amazing aroma of cardamom.
A light and creamy frozen dessert, sweetened with honey and brown sugar and flavored with roasted apricots.
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