Ethiopian Spiced Butter (Nit’r Qibe)
This is a staple ingredient in all Ethiopian cooking. It's what you smell when you walk into an Ethiopian restaurant, and what you are tasting when you walk out.
From: Jim — November 16, 2009
1 pound unsalted butter (or substitute clarified butter if you have it on hand)
10 basil leaves, rolled up and chopped crosswise
one 3 inch piece ginger, about 2 oz.,finely grated
2 cloves garlic, put through press or finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. cardamom seeds, or 1 tbs. cardamom pods broken open in a mortar
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, lightly toasted over high heat in a dry frying pan
1 tsp. dried mexican whole oregano (or substitute other dried oregano)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
Use already clarified butter if you have it on hand. Otherwise, you will clarify the butter yourself. To do so, melt butter over low heat, stir frequently in a pan that has a good lip for pouring. Foam rises to the top; carefully skim and discard it. Continue cooking until no more foam appears. Cook slowly over low heat. The butter must not turn brown.
Add the herbs, aromatics and spices and continue cooking for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and let stand until spices settle.
Strain through fine-mesh sieve. Some of the dry spices might go through the sieve, but try to keep the aromatics and basil out. Store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid in your refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
This butter is bright yellow from the tumeric and will add a yellow tint to some foods. Remember it is not salted, so season your food before you brush this on food or cook with it. I suggest brushing it on corn on the cob. It also is great added to mashed potatoes, or put inside a winter squash before roasting it on the grill. It adds a truly unique flavor to grilled shrimp or kebabs.