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The Hirshon Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian Curried Clarified Butter)

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, preferably from grass-fed cows
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, pounded
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tablespoons ground korerima
  • 1 tablespoon dried kosseret
  • 2 tablespoons dried besobela
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace (or increase nutmeg by 1/4 teaspoon if unavailable)


  1. Combine ginger, onion, and garlic, and pound to a coarse paste with a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Toast whole spices in a medium hot dry frying pan until fragrant, remove and lightly crack spices to release flavor and aroma.
  3. Melt the butter over low heat, stirring constantly, taking care that it does not darken. Skim off the foam as it rises and continue cooking until all the foam is gone.
  4. Add the paste and all remaining ingredients to the butter and simmer, uncovered, at the lowest possible heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Pour off the transparent top layer and reserve it, leaving behind as much of the milk solids and spices as possible. Strain the transparent layer through several layers of cheesecloth.
  6. The butter will usually be an oil at room temperature and will solidify in the refrigerator, where it can be kept, covered, for 3 or 4 months.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours

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