Minchet abish

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This is one of my favourite Ethiopian dishes, which I learnt about in Ethiopia during a couple of visits.  It is a very rich dish for a special occasion, typically eaten with injera (Ethiopia's staple flat 'bread') and ayib be gomen (cottage cheese with spinach).  

smdorominchetayib0001.jpgMinchet abish is to the left in the photo.  It looks deceptively simple - minced beef - but is exquisitely flavoured with fenugreek (abish) and a range of other hot and warm spices.  

Injera, berbere, nit'ir qibe (spiced butter) and shiro powder are available in London's Ethiopian shops and restaurants.

Recipe:  Minchet abish.pdf

Serves:  4 as a main course or 8 if served with other dishes, Ethiopian style

2 red onions, finely diced
¼ tsp fenugreek
500g ground beef
8 tbsps berbere spice mix
approx 100ml water
480ml nit'ir qibe (Ethiopian spiced clarified butter)  
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp shiro powder (or substitute chickpea flour)
240ml red wine
¼ tsp ground cardamom seeds (green cardamom, or 'false cardamom' - kerewima)
¼ tsp ground cloves

  1. Over low-medium heat cook onions in a saucepan or small casserole pot together with the fenugreek, without any fat, until softened and then browned.  Stir oven so that they do not burn.  Take your time!
  2. Add the beef and continue cooking and stirring until all the water has come out and evaporated away.
  3. Add berbere powder and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, adding in dribbles of the water to prevent it burning.  This step is important - the berbere needs to cook to lose its raw powder flavour, but burns easily.  You should be able to smell the difference when it is ready.
  4. Add butter and a good pinch of salt and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile whisk together ginger, shiro and wine to make a slurry.  
  6. Add slurry to the meat, together with the cardamom and cloves.  Simmer everything together gently for at least an hour, stirring occasionally to check it is not burning.  It should start quite sloppy but then slightly thicken and reduce.  The meat should become very tender.
  7. Check the seasoning and serve hot.

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