Zigni – Ethiopian Spiced Beef

Nuvita Biscuits

Berberé (pronounced ‘ber-beray’) is an Ethiopian spice mixture that is the flavoring foundation of Ethiopian cuisine, a basic ingredient in Dabo Kolo, Doro Wat, and many other dishes. It’s traditionally made from a cupboard-full of herbs and spices, fresh-ground, pan-roasted and then packed into jars for storage. Among Ethiopian cooks there are many variations of which spices and what amounts but basic berberé is made by combining roughly equal amounts of allspice, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, and salt with a much larger amount of hot red (cayenne) pepper. The combination of fenugreek and red pepper is essential to berberé; while one or two of the other ingredients may be left out, the fenugreek and red pepper are must-haves. Milder berberé can be made by substituting paprika for some or most of the red pepper. Berberé is sometimes made as a dry spice mix, and is sometimes made with oil or water to form a paste.


  • 500g stewing beef, in cubes
  • 3 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can tomatoes, with liquid
  • salt, pepper
  • fresh coriander chopped

For the Berberé pepper:

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons ground cayenne or chilli pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


For the berberé, combine the spices and roast in a dry skillet on low to moderate heat, stirring constantly, for about 5-10 minutes, or until roasted. Don’t let them burn. Keep in a tight jar.
For the stew, fry the meat on high heat until brown, then add the onion, and eventually the garlic and 2 tbsp Berbere, which are NOT to become burnt.

Add the tomatoes with their liquid and boil slowly until the meat is tender and the stew has thickened, about an hour.

Garnish with coriander and serve hot on rice or injera




Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Dark_LovexXx on Feb 5, 2013

    Here’s the recipe:


    1/4 c. oil
    3/4 c. applesauce
    1/2 c. nonfat milk
    1 1/4 c. sugar
    6 egg whites
    2 c. flour
    2 tsp. baking soda
    2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    1/2 tsp. ground cloves
    1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    2 c. carrots, peeled and grated
    1/2 c. chopped nuts
    1/2 c. raisins
    1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple with juice


    1 c. low-fat cottage cheese
    1 tbsp. low fat yogurt
    2 tsp. vanilla
    1 (8 oz.) pkg. of light cream cheese
    1 c. powdered sugar

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a rectangular cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. In one bowl beat together oil, applesauce, milk, sugar and egg whites; in another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Combine both sets of ingredients and beat, mixing in vanilla. Add carrots, walnuts, raisins and pineapple, mixing well after each addition. Bake for one hour or until done. Cool and remove from pan.
    In a blender or food processor, puree cottage cheese, yogurt a

  2. posted by Jesse on Feb 5, 2013

    I want to know the recipe for a good zigne and tajta tzebhi
    Anyone have the recipe??

  3. posted by Taylor G on Feb 5, 2013

    I have milk, suger, vanilla, maple, baking soda, butter, cinnamon, ground cloves, flour, salt, cream tar tar, nutmeg. Im trying to make cookies- no eggs! please, there for my teacher whos birthday was today. (favorit teacher)
    i also have oats

  4. posted by Andres C on Mar 18, 2013

    Any bars in the Northern Virginia are that are vegan friendly? Particularly one that is pretty large or has a private room?


  5. posted by MAK & CHEESE on Mar 21, 2013

    I’ve never tried it but people are always talking about Ethiopian food and Ethiopian restaurant. I don’t want to sound crass here but isn’t Ethiopia suffering from the most famine in the world or something? Yet I feel that the only people who haven’t tried Ethiopian food are the Ethiopians.

  6. posted by xiM Clutch on Mar 28, 2013

    I dislike mexican food is there any comparison ?

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