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Ethiopian Spiced Butter (Niter Kibbeh)

Niter Nibbeh a spice-infused clarified butter that is ever- present in Ethiopian cooking with an astonishing depth of flavor.
Course Condiment
Cuisine African
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Imma


  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 Teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger root
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 5-6 Basil leaves


  • Place butter in a medium saucepan and melt completely on low heat.
  • Simmer without letting it brown, until the surface is completely coated with foam.
  • Skim off the foam as it rises to the surface while cooking until nothing more remains.
  • It should look quite transparent. Now, add all the ingredients: onions, garlic, ginger cumin, cardamon, oregano, turmeric, nutmeg, and basil. Continue cooking on low heat for about 15- 20mins.
  • Pass it through a cheesecloth or sieve. It is now ready to be used. Store in a tightly covered container for about a month in the fridge.