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.
What You Will Need
- 1 lb. (2 cups or 4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 4 cardamom pods, lightly smashed
- 1 tsp. coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
- 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds, coarsely crushed
- 1 tsp. long pepper, coarsely crushed
- 1 tsp. nigella seed
- ½ tsp. grains of paradise, coarsely crushed
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried thyme