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How to make Niter Kibbeh - Spiced Ethiopian Butter

by Ben Ford November 13, 2017

How to make Niter Kibbeh - Spiced Ethiopian Butter

If you are going to cook up a pot of Doro Wat (a very hot Ethiopian chicken stew) then you should really try to be as authentic as possible and that will involve the use of some niter kibbeh - Ethiopian spiced clarified butter. Essentially a flavoured form of ghee this butter is magical for a variety of uses, not just Doro Wat, so you needn't worry about it going to waste. Just dunking fresh bread into warmed niter kibbeh is extremely pleasant and moreish.

You can probably pick this up in specialist shops in larger cities but making your own is really very straightforward so why not give it a go? 


450g unsalted butter

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Thumb size piece of fresh ginger, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 green cardamom pods
1x 2-3cm cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
5g  fenugreek seeds
2.5g turmeric


Using a small saucepan, slowly melt the butter over a low heat.
Once melted add the remaining ingredients and allow to simmer on the lowest possible heat for an hour. I use a heat diffuser on the hob to keep the heat under control. 
After an hour or so you will have a hazy golden liquid.
niter kibbeh
Decant carefully into a sterilised jar, leaving all of the solids in the pan. You can also strain the mixture through clean muslin to remove the solids. 
straining niter kibbeh
Store the butter in the refrigerator or pour into ice cube trays and freeze until required. Do try some warm with a chunk of fresh bread before you put it away though!
niter kibeh

The photo above shows the kibbeh still warm, it will of course go solid when cooled and also change colour. 

And that is all there is to it! Very easy with taste-bud pleasing results. 



Ben Ford
Ben Ford


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