Chipotle is a pepper, not a restuarant. It is dried and smoked, and frequently used in Mexican cooking. I am a Texas girl, born of Mexican-American roots, and my pantry staples always include cans of chipotle en adobo and ground chipotle spice. (And it is just about the right weather to whip up some fish tacos with chipotle crema …mmmm.)

Similarly, berbere is the go-to spice blend for Ethiopian cooking—it’s in nearly every dish. The recipe varies from family-to-family, but the basic contents include chili pepper, coriander, cumin, cardamom, ginger and whole host of other things. It’s not far from garam masala, I think, but here’s a recipe from Ethiopian chef Marcus Samuelsson.

If you’re in the mood for attempting a truly authentic spice blend, then take a stab at drying your own spices. (You can see how we dry spice in the open air out on the drive-way in the photo below.) Or you should be able to find it available for purchase at specialty food stores.


Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. […] option—a rice cooker. My favorite weeknight staple is a simple stew made with red lentils and berbere, alongside grilled fish with awaze sauce. Here are the recipes for […]

  2. […] working on a plan to market teff, the gluten-free grain indigenous to Ethiopia. After all if berbere is the new chipotle, then teff is the new […]


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About Ashley Saw the World

Ashley grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas. She studied the liberal arts and law, and enjoys writing, painting and cooking. She is married into an Ethiopian family and dedicates this blog to sharing their story.




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