Niter Kibbeh (Nit’ir Qibe) is an ingredient integral to Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisines and is made by clarifying butter that has been infused with herbs and spices. In the process of clarifying the spiced butter, the same process used to make ghee, the butterfat is separated from the milk solids and water and the result is a highly aromatic and flavorful cooking fat. This clarified butter has a higher smoke point and longer shelf life than regular butter. For a truly authentic kibbeh you would include two Ethiopian spices that are very difficult to find outside of Ethiopia: Besobela and Kosseret. Besobela is also known as Ethiopian sacred basil though it tastes nothing like basil. It’s also traditionally included in Berbere, the famous fiery hot Ethiopian spice blend. Kosseret is in the verbena family of plants and likewise has a very unique flavor. There are no adequate substitutes for either. If you can find them, use about a tablespoon of each. If you can’t, simply omit them. Another central ingredient to niter kibbeh is cardamom. But it’s not the green cardamom that most of us are familiar with. Rather it’s a type of cardamom that’s much bigger in size and is brown in color, known as korarima, false cardamom and Ethiopian cardamom. And it’s tastes completely different than green cardamom. The bad news is that it’s nearly impossible to find. The good news is that you can substitute Indian black cardamom. It more closely resembles Ethiopian cardamom in flavor than does green cardamom and is an absolutely vital spice in Ethiopian cooking. Another good news is the resulting niter kibbeh will still be incredibly delicious without them. Nutrition: Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 5.9mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2.5mg

Time Keeper


15 Min


1 Hour


4 Cups


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1 pound unsalted butter, cubed 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion 3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 1 2-inch cinnamon stick 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 3 BLACK cardamom pods (not the green cardamom variety) 3 whole cloves 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds 1 teaspoons coriander seeds 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 tablespoon besobela (If you can find it) 1 tablespoon kosseret.(If you can find it)


1. Toast the whole spices over medium heat in a dry skillet for a few minutes until very fragrant. Be careful not to scorch the spices or they will become bitter. Set aside. 2. Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring it to an extremely low simmer. Continue to simmer over low for at least one hour or up to 90 minutes. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO BURN THE BUTTER. If it burns it will be bitter and there is no salvaging it. 3. Pour everything through a fine-mesh cheesecloth. (No need to skim off the foam, everything will be removed during straining.) Pour the niter kibbeh into a jar, let it cool, and cover so that it is airtight. It will keep at room temperature for several weeks, in the fridge for at least a couple of months, and even longer in the freezer (it will be hard in the fridge and freezer, let it come to room temp for easy scooping). Makes about 2 cups.

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by @Enebla

Made with to injera