adventures in Berbere

I arrived back from Ethiopia, last Saturday Dec 7th after a long and tiring journey from the South, but sadly my luggage didn’t make it back with me. It got lost in the bowels of Heathrow somewhere – I had landed in London in the midst of an ATC nightmare, where pretty much all of the south of England was at a standstill. After an exasperating few days trying to get through to British Airways lost luggage department in Heathrow and their conterparts in Dublin Serviseair, it transpired that the luggage had been forwarded to Dublin alright, but the paperwork had been mixed up with another set of luggage, and the people in either office didn’t seem to have the gumption to check the clearly labelled tag with my name, address and phone number printed on it in an attempt to reunite me with my possessions. Anyhow, last night it arrived, nearly six days later with everything intact. Thanks be.

One of the things in my luggage was a half kg of Berebere, the red chilli spice which is an essential part of Ethiopian cuisine. In an attempt to remember Ethiopia through my tastebuds, I’m going to try to recreate a sauce I had many times with injera, the sourdough flatbread which is both eating utensil and tablecloth. I’m going to leave the injera for another time/experiment because it’s made from a grain called teff which isn’t available here (I think).

So, 1st attempt:

1 medium onion chopped
1 large clove garlic minced
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 level tbsp berbers
1 cup red lentils washed
3 cups water
2 tbsp tomato puree


Yeah, not that exciting, spice is good, needs a bit of salt. A bit bland, it would be inedible if it weren’t for the Berbere. Must try harder.

2nd attempt:
as above except chop in some chorizo.


Much better, the smoky tones of the chorizo really come alive in the lentil stew.