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This is the base flavor in most Ethiopian dishes. It is a vital ingredient and should not be skipped. Traditionally, it is a seasoned, clarified butter or ghee. Make a pound of it at a time and keep it in a covered dish in the fridge. If made from margarine it will last practically indefinitely. All hail the mighty margarine. (If you are averse to using margarine, it will work in a mild vegetable oil like canola; use about 1 3/4 cups of oil). You Need:
- 1 pound soy margarine
- 4 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped or pressed
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, scraped and finely grated or minced
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 whole cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
What You Do:
- Slowly melt the margarine in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat.
- Add the other ingredients and simmer uncovered on the lowest heat for about 20-30 minutes. Do not let it brown.
- Strain the mixture through a double layer of cheesecloth or other such concoction, discarding the spices.
- Refrigerate until set.
- Use as needed in Ethiopian recipes or spread sporadically on toast.Another Spiced Butter (Niter Kebbeh):Bulatovich:
Servants brought a large earthenware pot of coffee and sat down near us on the grass to pour it. From a wicker straw basket in the form of a column embroidered with beads, they took out about ten small cups without handles, wrapped in red calico, and spread them out on a wooden tray. They offered coffee to us first; and then, the whole suite and my ashkers were served.2 lb. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 onion, coarsely chopped 3 tablespoons minced garlic 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger 2 teaspoons ground turmeric 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 1 cinnamon stick (approximately 1" long) 1 whole clove 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmegIn a large saucepan, melt the butter slowly over medium heat; do not let it brown. Then bring butter to a boil. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered and undisturbed for 45 minutes. Milk solids on the bottom of the pan should be golden brown, and the butter on top will be transparent. Slowly pour the clear liquid into a bowl, straining through cheesecloth. It is important that no solids are left in the niter kebbeh.
Transfer the kebbeh into a jar. Cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator.
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