Ethiopian Berbere Beef

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Flavours of the Ethiopian Berbere spice mix and the ease of using minced beef in this dish, ensures that dinner can be a flavorsome affair, ready in minutes and padded out with plenty of green vegetables. 

Berbere Beef

On Wednesday about a fortnight ago, I received a call from Matt just after lunchtime.  Apparently, as he was heating up his quiche in the microwave at work he couldn’t help but notice one of his colleagues enjoying what looked and smelled like a spicy beef dish.  The brief to me and request to replicate this dish for dinner was quite concise but evenly as unclear: it was a spicy beef dish with not much sauce and the beef mince in little granules, with some greens. Also, and this was very important, the lunch’s owner looked very happy.

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I had a rough idea of what the dish was supposed to look like from that description, except of course for the non-descript spice mix. Given the opportunity to be adventurous, I opted for the wonderful Herbie’s Spices  African Berbere blend. Herbie’s Spices should need little introduction, with the store recently celebrating their 16th birthday and their spice range of over 300 items, now including 108 spice mixes with over 70 of these unique to Herbie’s Spices. In fact, Herbie’s is the only Australian spice store to be included in the World’s Best Spice Stores list!

This unique African Berbere blend contains cumin and coriander seed which are familiar from North African spice mixes, as well as a more localised blend of pepper, ajowan, fenugreek, allspice. For anyone as besotted with the warmth of Asian flavours as me, there is also ginger, chilli, nutmeg and cloves.

Good enough to have twice in a fortnight actually. First, padded out with beans, mushrooms and a little Thai basil leftover from another dish. Served in lettuce leaves, it made perfect sense. Good enough to have seconds actually. The second time around it was all about green veg and rice, because why not?

Berbere Beef-3

Ethiopian Berbere Beef
Recipe type: beef, stir fry, mince, dinner
Cuisine: Ethiopian, African
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
For a gluten-free version use tamari and Worcestershire sauce that's gluten-free. The dish would also work well with veal or chicken mince. Mushrooms or other green vegetables, such as zucchini, cabbage and silverbeet could also be added. You can serve this dish with rice or in lettuce cups.
  • 1-2 tbsp macadamia oil
  • 500g organic beef mince
  • 1 brown or red onion, cut into wedges
  • ½ cup finely diced smoked sausage, optional
  • 2 tbsp Berbere spice mix
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • ¼ cup organic soy sauce or tamari
  • ¼ cup rice malt syrup
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (gluten-free option, if preferred)
  • veggies of choice, about 2 cups: broccoli florets, french beans, zucchini
  • 2 tsp tapioca (arrowroot) or cornflour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped mint
  1. Heat oil in a large pan over high heat. Add beef and onion and sprinkle over with Berbere mix and cayenne, if using. Brown the meat, stirring and breaking up bigger chunks.
  2. Mix together soy sauce, rice syrup and Worcestershire sauce. Lower heat to medium-low and add sauce and broccoli to the mince and cook for a couple of minutes, add tapioca and water mixture and allow for the sauce to thicken. Mix through chopped parsley, mint and basil leaves.
  3. Serve the beef on its own, in lettuce cups or with rice.


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7 Responses to Ethiopian Berbere Beef

  1. Steph says:

    This sounds amazing! I’m glad to hear you are featuring a spice from a less popular region of the world, there are so many interesting flavours in Africa! Thanks!

  2. Jayne says:

    I’ve never heard of this spice mix before! Love trying new ones as we really love spices over here. Anything padded with spices is bound to be good. I’ll try to look for this around here!

  3. Maria Montana says:

    I am definitely making this for dinner… Very soon!

  4. Great little flavors in this beef mixture. Don’t you just love when our hubby’s send us photos of something they want you to recreate in your kitchen. My hubby travels all over the world so for me it can be a riddle trying to determine what the dish might be or the ingredients involved. However, it looks like you landed on this dish. A great gluten free dish. How is your class going? Have a super week. BAM

  5. jcatesby says:

    Yum yum love this recipe great with ground turkey also. Meant to compliment on the plates very stylish .