Imagine the best Southern barbecue — cooked up in northern Africa.
That’s what this week’s ingredient — the Ethiopian seasoning blend known as berbere — tastes like. And it’s as good as it sounds.
Berbere is the flavor backbone of Ethiopian cooking, a cuisine built around heavily seasoned meats and stews served with a spongy flatbread called injera.
Berbere ties all of that together, doing duty as a dry rub for meats, a seasoning for stews, lentils and grains — even as a tableside condiment.
As with so many traditional seasoning blends, what goes into berbere can vary by region, town and by house.
But most versions begin with a base of ground chiles, ginger, fenugreek, cumin, cloves, coriander, cardamom, black pepper and salt.