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Niter Kibbeh

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    Posted: 28 October 2010 at 17:38

This from WIKI:

Quote Ethiopia's Niter Kibbeh (Nit'ir Qibe) is a spiced clarified butter, something like India's ghee, but much more flavored, and with spices. It is used in many Ethiopian dishes, Doro Wat, for example. It is usually made in large quantities and kept on hand for daily use.

It adds an incomparable flavor to dishes. Plain butter or oil can be substituted in Ethiopian recipes if you don't have the time to make niter kibbeh, but something special will be missing.

Yep. it will be.

I've been loving Ethiopean food ever since I made the Berebere paste and then especially since the African Drums (plus, can't forget my recurring mdnight snack- Ethiopia meets Mexico). So many good recipes from there and so many good winter-type one-pot meals....I am focusing on that for now. Ran across a recipe for Niter Kibbeh....and decided to make it.

Here are the ingredients:

Unsalted butter-  1 pound
Onion, chopped-  1 large one
Garlic, crushed- 7 to 9 cloves
Gingerroot, cut into slices -- about 10 pieces
Cardamom Powder- about 4 TBSP
Cinnamon sticks- 2 or so
Whole cloves- 2 TBSP
Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 cup or so
Turmeric- 2 TBSP
Okay now that we have that, here's how to do it:

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low heat; then, while that is going on, you combine the goods: diced onion, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, minced garlic cloves, turmeric, fenugreek, cardamom and sliced ginger. Once the butter is melted, add the spices, followed by the onions, then stir well. Mix all the ingredients together and then turn the heat up to about Number 3 on an electric range (between medium and super low) and bring to a gentle bubbling. Let this sit and cook for 2 hrs.

This is gently bubbling on my stove right now filling the house with a delicious buttery spicy scent that is driving me nuts with hunger. This flavor combo sure brings out the carnivore in me! I can easily see how this condiment is perfect for browning meat before braising it as in a traditional Ethiopean recipe.

(2 hours later)

After about 2 hrs of gentle boiling (it was impossible to get this stuff to simmer. A low gentle boil was the best I could do and turned out fine), the ingredients have darkened, the spices have come together and the onions are clear. I stirred the pot about once every 15 or 20 minutes, just 'cause I was afraid of anything sticking to the bottom. During the last hour, that was a good plan. Once the 2 hrs were up, into a rough plastic colander it went for the major liquids to drain out; aAfter a few minutes, the solids were tranferred to a metal strainer and left to sit for about 15 minutes so all the butter could drain. After that, the solids were tossed out and the liquid gold poured into jars for future use.

Yield was about a pint total, in half-pint jars; both went into the fridge for cooling down and keeping. One had some the sediment in the bottom and will be used cold - meaning the butter will be scooped out stiff cause we don't want the cooked sediment in the recipe's we're making. The other one can be used liquid at room temp or scooped out cold as well. It is all dependent on how much we need. I'll probably end up freezing one jar and leaving the other in the fridge for now. This clarified, cooked and spiced butter can keep in the fridge for a couple months with no worries. Frozen, in a deepfreeze a year plus will be fine. No worries though cause as good as this stuff smells and tastes, it isn't gonna last.

It is very nice and golden and ready to be used in a meat-heavy, one-pot Ethiopean meal soon now that the cold is coming upon us and the woodstove has been fired up for the season. Many Ethiopean recipes are protein-rich and meat-heavy, a result of the region's history of plenty and abundance, dating back for thousands of years. It is only in recent history that Ethiopea has unfortunately fallen into strife and famine. I have a couple good Ethiopean recipes I want to try soon, and bought some "teff" flour this afternoon to try an Ethopian flatbread called injera. I also can see "huevos rancheros" (I am imagining over-easy eggs fried in this golden deliciousness), thin breakfast steaks, scrambled eggs, home-fried potatoes, all kinds of good things made with this stuff.
In any case, this is another good base from the ur-foods of the world and I plan to explore with it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 October 2010 at 21:09
that sure sounds good, john! all of those different spices going into there truly evoke images of caravans on the sahara.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 October 2010 at 13:43
All the time i have logged in the kitchen, I have never made clarified butter.....this recipe makes me want to very badly!Thumbs Up
Go with your food!
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