ethiopian cooking oil
Niter kibbeh is traditionally made with butter, but Earth Balance margarine or a mild-tasting vegetable oil are terrific substitutes. Considering all of the pungent spices that go into making niter kibbeh, it actually has a rather delicate taste.
When using niter kibbeh in Ethiopian dishes, the oil simply complements the complexity of the dishes. However, where it really stands out and shines is using it in applications where it's not competing with other strong flavors. I especially like to re-warm it and drizzle on vegetables or dip chunks of crusty bread into.
I originally got the recipe from Kittee's fun website, PakuPaku, but I've made some minor modifications to it so I've posted my version below. Oh, and the best part of making niter kibbeh is that your house smells amazing all day!
Ever in search of shortcuts, I've made a batch of niter kibbeh using cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds, and whole cloves in place of their ground forms. Though I allowed the spices to steep in the oil for a long time, the result was not as flavorful. So do as Crystal says and grind your spices, ya heard?
If you want to make your Ethiopian dishes totally soy-free, be sure to use canola oil for the niter kibbeh base, instead of Earth Balance.
- 1 pound Earth Balance or 1 3/4 cup mild-tasting oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped or pressed
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, scraped and finely grated or minced
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- scant 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Heat the margarine or oil in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered on the lowest heat for about 45 minutes. Do not let it brown.
- Strain the mixture (I use a metal sieve) and discard the spices.
- This should store, refrigerated, for a couple of months.