Your Guide to the History & Taste of Ethiopian Food

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Your Guide to the History & Taste of Ethiopian Food - Rumi Spice

Have you been wondering what Ethiopian cuisine is like? This “hot” & trending cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.

Here is our go-to guide to learn about the history of Ethiopian food, what it tastes like, and some traditional Ethiopian dishes.

 A History of Ethiopian Cuisine

The region around modern day Ethiopia was exposed to various exotic spices from India, chile peppers from Portugal, and ginger from East Asian countries as far back as the 1400s. Indigenous to Ethiopia, grains such as sorghum, millet, teff, and wheat grow well in the temperate climate and are used in many Ethiopian dishes. Ethiopian cuisine today is a blend of introduced spices and food items coupled with indigenous grains and proteins.

 What does Ethiopian food taste like?

The profile of Ethiopian food is very distinct. It marries together earthy, spicy, tart, sour, and pungent flavors. A base seasoning, used in a wide variety of savory and spiced Ethiopian dishes, is a blend of spices known as Berbere. Most Berbere seasoning is made with chile peppers, fenugreek, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and coriander.

 How is Ethiopian food eaten?

Ethopian dishes are also often paired with a sour fermented teff flour bread called Injera. Injera is rolled into a large flatbread and the food is served on top of it. When eating a dish involving injera, no utensils are involved. Simply tear off a piece of injera, scoop up a bite size amount of food, and then enjoy the flavors.

Traditional Ethiopian Dishes You Need to Know
  • Tibs- a delicious dish of beef cut into small chunks sauteed with onions, garlic, and berbere seasoning that is paired with injera.
  • Shiro be Kibbe (Most Popular)- a red, saucy legume or lentil stew combining ground split pea, chickpeas, and a spiced butter.
  • Kitfo- an Ethiopian beef tartare: ground raw beef mixed with a spiced butter.

To start using Berbere seasoning to infuse the quintessential flavors of Ethiopia into your dishes, try Rumi’s Ethiopian Berbere spice blend.


A cuisine encompassing the flavors of the old East African spice trade, Ethiopian food is deliciously unique, fragrant, and mostly spicy. Its depth of flavors has made it very popular internationally.

By now you are armed with enough knowledge to experiment in the kitchen with these spicy and savory flavors or support a local Ethiopian restaurant (our Chicago favorite is Demeera).

Once you try our Ethiopian Berbere spice blend, make sure to tag @rumi_spice on Instagram to share your cooking creations.

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