Niter Kibbeh

 Similar to ghee, niter kibbeh or niter qibe (ንጥር ቅቤ), also called tesmi, is a spicy seasoned clarified butter that’s widely used in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisines.

It brings a lot of flavor to dishes thanks to the spices it contains, and also has the ability to heat up very high to grill food.

The butter is clarified by separating the fat from the whey, or more precisely, the casein and the whey. It does not burn, and keeps much longer than regular butter. Suitable for people who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to casein. It is also more digestible and less fatty than conventional fresh butter.


  • 21 oz (600g) unsalted butter , cut into cubes
  • ½ small onion , chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon of korarima (Ethiopian cardamom)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger , minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon beso bela (Ethiopian holy basil)
  • ½ teaspoon koseret (Ethiopian oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric


  • 2 glass jars (8½ fl oz / 250 ml), with airtight seal, sterilized
  • Non-stick casserole dish
  • Cheesecloth or muslin


  • Roast the korarima, cinnamon, coriander, fenugreek and cumin seeds for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring regularly.
  • Place all ingredients into a non-stick saucepan and bring to a boil over very low heat.
  • Simmer over very low heat for 90 minutes, being extremely careful not to burn the butter.
  • Using a slotted spoon, skim off as much of the foam as possible.
  • Strain the contents of the pan through a fine mesh cheesecloth or muslin.
  • Pour the niter kibbeh into sterilized glass jars with airtight seals.
  • Let cool completely and tightly close the jars.
  • Niter kibbeh can be stored at room temperature for at least 3 weeks, in the refrigerator for 3 months, or several months in the freezer.