Ethiopian Spiced Clarified Butter (Niter Kibbeh)

Spiced Clarified Butter
Fragrant and flavorful thanks to the addition of more than half a dozen spices, this clarified butter is a key building block in many Ethiopian dishes.©Peter Cassidy, courtesy of Interlink Books

When butter is clarified—cooked until the water has evaporated and the milk solids have separated­—it becomes a brilliant yellow oil that can be stored for 2 months without spoiling. Ethiopian cooks simmer a range of fragrant spices, onions, or garlic into their clarified butter before filtering it and using the clear liquid in various dishes. In his recipe, chef Yohanis uses dried lemon thyme and dried basobela, an Ethiopian basil similar to Thai basil, but regular dried thyme and basil can be substituted. Use niter kibbeh to make Slow-Cooked Spicy Chicken with Hard-Boiled Eggs (Doro Wat), Sizzling Spiced Beef (Siga Tibs), Beef Tartare (Kitfo), and more.

Adapted from Ethiopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa (2019) by Yohanis Gebreyesus with Jeff Koehler. Published by Interlink Books.

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