Berbere Spice Blend

This Ethiopian spice blend is a burst of flavours. It’s intense, it’s warm, it’s complex and my favourite spice mix. I always keep a jar in my pantry with this blend. I use it especially with lentils but it can be added to any number of pulses and beans.


  • 2 tsp of Coriander Seeds

  • 2 tsp of Cumin Seeds

  • 1 tsp of Fenugreek Seeds

  • 1 tsp of Nigella Seeds

  • 1 tsp of Black Peppercorns

  • 2 whole Allspice Berries

  • 5 pods of Cardamom (seeds only)

  • 4 Cloves

  • 4-7 Dried Red Chillies

  • 3 Tbsp of Smoked Sweet Paprika

  • ½ of a whole Nutmeg ground

  • ½ tsp of ground Ginger

  • 1/4 tsp of ground Cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ground Turmeric


Step 1 – Lightly toast the Whole Spices and dried chillies in a hot dry pan. For about 3-4 mins until fragrant. Set aside and let them cold down.


Step 2 – Transfer the cold whole spices to a spice or coffee grinder and blend to a course powder. Add to the rest of the ground spices and mix very well.

Step 3 – Store it in an airtight container in a dark place. It keeps well for a long time but I normally use it within 1 month as it stars to loose its power as most ground spices.

About the Ingredients

Seeds: You can use ground seeds but you will get a much more intense spice blend if you use whole seeds, roast them and grind them at home. The amount of chillies will depend on your taste and the intensity of the chillies. I try to get my spices organic and in small batches because they loose flavour with time.

Berbere: Berbere is a traditional spice blend, it is the base of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. It’s used in many different dishes, including Ethiopia’s national dish, Misir Wot. This fiery blend is a mix of spices and it varies in each individual cook’s kitchen, sometimes in different blends for different dishes. You can adjust the spicy level to your taste, we like it spicy but normally I make it mild and add a bit of cayenne pepper when cooking. I always taste my dishes on the go and keep adjusting to my taste.