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Grilled Corn with African Nitir Kebe

Monday, 26 May 2008


Nitir kebe is Ethiopian spiced butter that is an ingredient in many that country’s dishes. It certainly gives an exotic twist to a summertime favorite in the U.S.A. Be sure to buy ears with some of the stalk attached for a great handle. The spiced butter freezes easily.


At a glance
Cooking Method
Heat Level
Side Dish
  • 1 pound unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon crushed African bird peppers, or substitute chiltepins, pequins, or ground cayenne chile

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon

  • 1.5 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 4 ears corn, husks and stalks attached


Grilled CornAllow the butter to soften at room temperature and beat in all the ingredients for the nitir kebe. Let sit for an hour to blend the flavors.

Remove any dried, brownish husks from the corn. Pull back, but don’t remove completely the husks and remove the silk. Soak the ears in cold water for 30 minutes to prevent the husks from burning.

Brush some of the butter on each of the ears and pull the husks back up over the ears and secure with string or a strip of corn husk.

Place on grill over a low fire, fairly far from the heat, and grill, turning often, for about 15 minutes. It’s a good idea to have a spray bottle with water handy in case the husks start to burn.



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