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Mains, Quick and Easy


Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

When tourist James Barker had dinner at the home of his Ethiopian hosts, he knew he'd have to be polite and eat whatever indigenous cuisine they offered him. He didn't know it wouldn't be cooked. Ethiopia is "a nation who ... Read more

Total time: 10 minutes | Serves 4
  • 1 pound finely ground low-fat beef, such as top round, ball tips or rib-eye
  • 4-6 tablespoons niter kibe, or more to taste (ghee is an adequate substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon mitmita powder, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, or more to taste
  • Salt
  • Ayib

Step 1To prepare the dish tere, or raw, melt the niter kibe in a skillet over low heat. When the niter kibe is melted, remove from heat and add the beef to the skillet, mixing to combine well. Add the spices and mix thoroughly. Taste, and add one-half teaspoon salt or as desired.

Step 2If you want it lebleb, or slightly cooked, place the skillet back over low heat after combining the niter kibe with the meat. Heat for a minute or so before adding the spices and seasoning.

Step 3To prepare it yebesele, or fully cooked, put the beef and niter kibe in a skillet over low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the kibe melts and the beef is cooked to your liking. Remove from heat, add the spices and seasoning, and mix the ingredients well.

Step 4Serve the kitfo with dollops of ayib (soft Ethiopian cheese) surrounding it, or mix some ayib right into the kitfo.

Note: Niter kibe (Ethiopian butter) and mitmita powder (a spicy red pepper powder) are available at Ethiopian markets and online.


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