Thursday 19 September 2019

How to make Nit'r qibe - a very tasty fat that forms the basis of many Ethiopian recipes


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Turmeric and Lime Mussel Broth

Food writer Nik Sharma, curator of the award-winning food blog A Brown Table, shares 100 delicious and intriguing Indian recipes with an American twist in his debut book, which Nigella Lawson has praised as “inspiring and infused with an enlivening and generous sensibility”.

My Nit'r Qibe

Makes 120g

Nit'r qibe is a very tasty fat that forms the basis of many Ethiopian recipes. It's quite similar to ghee, but it contains milk solids, and it is seasoned with spices. You can cook with it as you would ghee or any other fat. I've been known to dip pieces of bread into a warmed jar of nit'r qibe, to which I've added a little salt.


220g unsalted butter, cubed

35g finely-chopped red onion

1 tsp finely chopped garlic

One 2.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 black cardamom pod, crushed

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground turmeric


Line a fine-mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese­cloth and place over a clean, dry 480ml jar with a tight-fitting lid to hold the finished nit'r qibe.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to the surface, until the butter is completely clear, about 30 minutes.

Carefully pour through the cheesecloth-lined strainer into the jar. Stir the cracked cardamom pod, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, oregano, and turmeric into the hot fat and seal.

Store the nit'r qibe in the refrigerator for up to three months.

* Extracted from Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food by Nik Sharma, published by Chronicle Books, £26.

Photography by Nik Sharma

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