Citizens, there is no question in my keen cuisine mind that Ethiopian food is definitively one of the great pinnacles of world cuisine! I frequently find myself craving its spicy and multi-layered flavors and this dish in particular is one of my all-time favorites!
Shiro is a homogeneous stew whose primary ingredient is powdered chickpeas or broad bean meal combined with special herbs and spices. It is often prepared with the addition of minced onions, garlic and, depending upon regional variation, ground ginger or chopped tomatoes and chili-peppers.
Shiro is typically served atop injera (a spongy, leavened flat bread). Tegabino Shiro is a type of shiro made from heavily spiced legume, chickpea, field pea, or fava bean, flour, oil (or butter), and water brought bubbling to the table in a miniature clay pot or shallow (often dented) aluminum pan. Its true aficionados usually consume it with a dark or sergegna injera.
Shiro is also an essential part of the cuisine of Eritrea, Ethiopia’s neighbor country. It is a favorite dish during special occasions, including Lent, Ramadan and other fasting seasons.
It is a vegan food, but there are non-vegan variations including niter kibbeh (a spiced, clarified butter) or meat (in which case it is called bozena shiro).
It can also be mixed with injera and cooked together to have shiro fitfit.
You can purchase fantastic Shiro (ሸሮ ምጥን) powder (and any other Ethiopian ingredient for that matter) from Brundo in Oakland, CA – and they ship! The link is here. Ethiopian curried butter is an integral part of this recipe – you can find out how to make it here.
Citizens, this is a delicious treat that will be a welcome and unique addition to your recipe repertoire – I hope you see fit to give it a try!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup Shouro Mitten ሸሮ ምጥን - spicy legume blend (strongly preferred!) or just use chickpea flour
- 2 medium onions, pureed
- 1 roma tomato, pureed
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons niter kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced clarified butter) (strongly preferred) or use ghee with a blend of your favorite herbs and spices in it!
- 2 to 2 ½ cups of water
- 3 tablespoons berbere (በርበሬ) spice (use less or none of this depending on how spicy you like your shiro!)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- Salt, to taste
- 1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
- Bring a heavy bottom stockpot to medium heat. Add pureed onions to the dry pan, and saute until they become dry and start to take on color - about 4-5 minutes. Add the oil and berbere spice. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Next add tomato and chopped garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes more.
- Now start whisking in about half of the chickpea flour. Gradually start to add about 1 cup of water. Whisk in the remaining chickpea flour and an additional 1 cup of water. Whisk until mixture is very smooth. Add remaining ½ cup of water if you prefer your shiro a little thinner.
- Heat until the shiro begins to pop (simmer). Then add the niter kibbeh, garlic powder, sugar, and salt to taste, stirring until combined.
- Simmer for about 5-10 minutes over low heat until the flavors combine and the oil separates slightly from the shiro.
- Garnish with jalapeño, if desired.
- Serve with fresh injera.