Often described as hot and spicy, berbere can be substituted in recipes calling for chili powder since it adds earthy, aromatic, and slightly sweet flavoring. Although its origins are North African, the spice works well in Italian and Mexican recipes that require some "heat."
That same "heat" makes berbere an excellent addition to any stew. An iconic example is doro wat; a stew considered the national dish of Ethiopia. The recipe also adds olive oil, red onions, garlic cloves, meat (chicken, beef, or lamb), salt, and finishes with hard-boiled eggs.
In Eritrea, a stew called Zigni—cooked with beef—features the spice mix prominently.
Berbere is also a mouth-watering rub for anything you may want to grill or roast: lamb, chicken, salmon, or mackerel.
In an air fryer, coat sliced or chopped potatoes with olive oil and berbere. You will never think of potatoes as boring again. This recipe also works well with almost any root vegetable.
Stir berbere into yogurt for a quick dip for raw vegetables. Add a teaspoon of berbere to your corn for easy elotes. Toss lots of berbere with diced potatoes or cauliflower heads in before oven-roasting. Warm it in melted or olive butter before drizzling over steamed vegetables.
For a twist, berbere can pair with rich, dark chocolate for dessert as well. The heat and the fragrant warmth of this beautifully balanced aromatic spice is instant tonic and comfort.