Spicy Ethiopian Berbere በርበሬ Flavoured Hummus

Here’s a great recipe for a spicy hummus dip with a unique flavour! It takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and is both delicious and simple.

I love Ethiopian food. I love hummus.

In Jamaica, where I live, we do not have Ethiopian food (which I’ve always found fascinating given that Rastafarians worship the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, but that’s a discussion for a different post and possibly by a different author). We have great Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food (mostly Lebanese), but Jamaica is not an inexpensive place so you can’t just grab two tubs of hummus in the grocery for USD 1.99 each. As a result I make my own and like to experiment with different flavours.

Berbere (በርበሬ) is a primary element of most Ethiopian food- it’s a blend of chillis and several spices that are local to northeast Africa. This gives it both a nice kick and a uniqueness- if you’re not familiar with it doesn’t really taste like anything else. Luckily you can buy it in speciality groceries or just order it online. Amazon sells the Frontier  Co-Op brand which I use – you can get it here.


  • 2 Heads of Garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Tahini
  • 2 Tsp Berbere
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin
  • 3 Tins Chick Peas (15.5 oz / 439 g)
  • 1.5 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Drain and rinse the chick peas in a colander, set aside

In a food processor or blender purée tahini, garlic and 1/4 cup lemon juice until garlic is finely chopped.

Add chick peas and remaining lemon juice and blend for a short time until chick peas are coarsely chopped.

Add berbere, cumin and salt.

While blending, slowly add water.

Blend until a smooth consistency is reached.

Garnish liberally with paprika and olive oil.

Enjoy with some pita bread, carrot sticks or whatever your dip-carrier of choice is!

If you want to get all super-foodie, you could step it up and cook your own chick peas, squeeze fresh lemons and use sea salt, expensive olive oil and so on, but I’m just trying to eat.  If I really wanted to make it more authentically Ethiopian, I would make lentil hummus instead of using chick peas, but I’ll save that for another day as well.

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