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Berbere Chicken Skewers

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    Posted: 07 March 2010 at 07:42
BERBERE CHICKEN SKEWERS
 
Berbere spice mix comes from Ethiopia and is the most popular spice combinations there. Little wonder! Recently, I used the berbere paste I made to marinate some chicken tenders. Mrs Rivet loved the smell of it, rich dark and complex...full of exotic spiciness and garlickyness but no heat. It smelled rich!
 
I decided to make half and half skewers - half slathered with berbere and half with plain salt. Into the broiler they went for about 7 minutes, then turned them over for another couple. These would be outstanding cooked over wood and direct heat on a grill...probably a more authentic method than an electric oven.
 
The scent of the berbere filled the kitchen and it smelled good. Surprisingly, it didn't melt off but crusted over to make a satisfying crunch when you bit into it. Mrs Rivet and I both loved this recipe and I'm glad I made a double batch of berbere paste. We only used half for this. The plain chicken was good too but no match for this deliciousness!
 
The berbere chicken was served with Jolloff Rice, a West African rice dish that is posted in that section.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2010 at 08:21
outstanding idea!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SavageShooter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 September 2014 at 11:39
Where are you getting your Berbere spice that has "No" heat to it?  Because what I get from the Ethiopian store here in KC, it's hotter than the dickens!  You have to be careful how much you use otherwise the dish is too hot to enjoy.  I'd cook with this spice more but the wife can only handle so much "heat" so to speak.  ;) 
Common sense is not all that common.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 September 2014 at 22:50
I'm with you, SS. Ethiopian berbere is all about heat. But I've noticed when going through early posts that that particular former member often portrayed more arrogance than real knowledge. In this case, if he followed Ron's recipe, as he claimed to have done, there is two tablespoons of cayenne in it. Far from no heat.

Jessica Harris talks about this in her The African Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent.. "Berbere is so important to life that an Amharic expression has it that a man who is a coward is a man who has no pepper. Indeed, the heat of some berberes requires a brave heart for consumption."

She also notes that this complex spice mixture is made in such vast quantities for home use that recipes call for as many as 15 pounds of chiles and 5 pounds of garlic.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2014 at 07:25
As further evidence, the reference work International Cuisine, has this to say: “The cuisine of modern day Somolia and Ethiopia is characterized by very spicy food prepared with chiles and garlic. In addition to flavoring the food, the spices also help to preserve meat in a country where refrigeration is rare. Berbere is the name of the special spicy paste that Ethiopians use to preserve and flavor foods. According to Ethiopian culture, the woman with the best berbere has the best chance to win a good husband.”

Later, in the same book's glossary of African culinary terms, berbere is simply defined as, "Red pepper spice paste used in Ethiopia.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2014 at 07:33
Let me make one thing clear. I have no objection to somebody changing a recipe to suit their tastes. Heat, especially, is a problem area for many folks---Friend Wife and the Beautiful Mrs Tass among them.

What I do object to is totally changing the flavor of a traditional dish or condiment, then using the original name.

In this case, for instance, if you pull the heat out you may wind up with a tasty condiment. But it is not berbere--whose hallmark is heat---and shouldn't be called by that name.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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