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Ethiopian Curried Butter (Nit'ir Quibe)

Thursday, 23 October 2008


This tasty clarified butter is a basic ingredient in the preparation of traditional Ethiopian foods.  It is also great spread on breads of any kind.


At a glance
Cooking Method
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2 cups
  • 1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds butter
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 whole cloves



Combine the ginger, onion, and garlic and pound to a coarse paste in a mortar.  Set aside.  Melt the butter over low heat, stirring constantly, taking care that the butter does not darken.  Skim off the foam as it rises, and continue cooking until all the foam is gone.  Add the paste and the remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, at the lowest possible heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Pour off the transparent top layer, leaving as much of the milk solids and spices as possible.  Strain the top layer through several layers of cheesecloth.  The butter will usually be an oil at room temperature and solidify in the refrigerator, where it can be kept, covered for 3 or 4 months.


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