I recently ate the most amazing Ethiopian food in town, and ever since I have been dreaming about it. Seeing as though I am not Ethiopian and have only visited their airport, I had to do some serious research.
After much reading, I decided to make a healthy variation of an Ethiopian classic- Berbere Chicken. This dish sounds a lot more exotic than it really is, don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients it takes so quick to make. So at the end of the day, it’s just another simple chicken dish with an abundance of amazing spices.
What makes this recipe Ethiopian is the spice mix, which is called Berbere. It tastes truly magical, and after reading up on it; I have learnt that no two Berbere mixtures are the same. It is a combination of wonderfully potent Moroccan food with a hit of garlic and chilli. In any Berbere mix there are a few constants: chilli, garlic, ginger and fenugreek. Spices I chose to add to the mix include turmeric, cinnamon, allspice, coriander and cumin. To go with the yummy chicken I made some hearty lentils and veggies. If you want to ditch the chicken, the lentils are an amazing vegetarian dish.
I hope you enjoy making it as much as I did ❤
4 Free-range chicken thigh, skin on, bone in
2 free-range chicken breasts, skin on bone in & cut in half
3 tbsp Berbere spice mix (see below)
For the Berbere spice mix:
3 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp chilli pepper flakes, ground plus more for extra spicy
2 tsp powdered cumin
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fenugreek powder
1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Ethiopian spiced lentils:
1 cup red lentils, ready washed
3 cups chicken stock
1 large red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 red chilli, chopped
2-3 tbsp Berbere Spice Mix
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 a lemon
Fresh Italian parsley
Preparation 20 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Preheat Oven to 230° and boil the kettle.
In a food processor dice the onions, garlic and carrots. Then grate the ginger and roughly chop the tomatoes. Set aside.
To make the Berbere spice, place all the spices in a mortar and pestle and bash until all combined.
Pat dry the chicken and cut the breasts in half, then cover in salt. Generously rub each piece with Berbere Spice Mix. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottom frying pan, on medium high heat, place chicken skin side down and sear until crispy and golden, about 8 minutes. Turn over, and turn heat down to medium, searing for 2-3 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking on the stove, place a large pot on high heat, bring lentils and chicken stock to the boil, reduce heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Once the chicken has finished searing, place the chicken into an oven proof dish and add 1/2 a cup of chicken stock to stop the chicken from drying out. Place in oven for 15-20 minutes.
When the lentils have finished parcooking, add the onion, carrots, garlic, ginger, Berbere spice, salt and chopped tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook covered for another 30 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed. Stir in fresh lemon juice and roughly chopped parsley. Season with extra sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the cooked chicken on top of the lentils and take to the table.