The Berbere Pepper – Super Hot Food

One of the local newspapers printed an article about the Ethiopian Berbere Pepper. The Ethiopian Berberes have been available dried and ground, but the fresh peppers are hard to find and not always in season. The paper indicated that they were now in season and available at the Menlo Park farmers’ market for a limited time.

Ethiopian Berbere Peppers

The young ones resemble the Padron in appearance. They have a mild, sweet flavor. The larger, older green ones are generally hotter.

Like a padron, young Berberes are fantastic when quickly sauteed in olive oil then sprinkled with sea salt. The Berbere becomes a beautiful purplish mocha color when mature and it develops thick, sturdy skin that is best removed after roasting.

I was hoping to find some young Berberes at the market to saute and also some more mature Berberes. This time I got more mature peppers some green and some very mocha in color. The purveyor and I started speaking about the glorious Berbere pepper and how to prepare them. She suggested, when green, that I dice them and saute them up and add garlic and a green of choice. She also suggested making a paste using the more mature pepper, roasting them, adding garlic and olive oil. With this preparation I would have fantastic berbere pepper paste all winter that would add heat to winter dishes.

I followed her suggestion and roasted all of the mocha colored Berbere peppers and removed the skins. I then added olive oil and fresh garlic (that had been sauteed) to the peppers and pureed everything to a paste.

WOW, what flavor. The peppers were wonderfully smokey and yes very hot!! But just a little bit is enough to add some wicked heat to an otherwise bland dish.

Ethiopian Berbere Pepper Sauce


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