Exploring Ethiopian Spices

One of the cool things about moving is discovering the new ingredients that are locally available. So far, we've discovered a variety of Caribbean and Latin American groceries and an amazing Asian grocery (the infamous H-Mart, which would be perfect if it actually carried fermented black beans).

Image by VirtualErnImage by VirtualErnThe other day, I found Sheger International Market, a tiny Ethiopian place a few blocks away. I picked up some injera - a spongy pancake-like sourdough flatbread made from teff flour - while I was there, because it was something I thought Angela would like. (She did.) What caught my attention, though, were the shelves of small plastic containers filled with a variety of spices and things. Few of them I recognized. There was plenty of berbere and some green coffee beans, but other than that... well... it looks like I have a lot of research and experimentation to do. I suspect several of these things are spices that I know of under another name, so if anyone has a good resource for Ethiopian spice names, please share.


I'd recommend "The Soul of a New Cuisine" by Marcus Samuelsson. I don't remember if it had alternate/foreign names for things, but it has a lot of recipes that use African spices and spice blends. It even has recipes to make your own berbere, injera, and others.

Stuart Broz's picture

Thanks! I'll check it out.

Sounds like a disease, not a spice.

Stuart Broz's picture

You'd like it, though.

What does it taste like? Maybe I need to find an Ethiopian restaurant here.

Stuart Broz's picture

When you're next down here, we'll get you some.

Guess I need to find a time to head down to DC then!

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