I’ve been way outside my comfort zone lately, first with these Samosa Style Twice Baked Potatoes, and now this Ethiopian inspired dish! But one of the things that keeps me inspired and excited about life, is trying new things. I promise this recipe is super easy just like my usual style, it’s just got a little exotic touch.
If you’ve made Thai curry with curry paste from the store, you’ll find this to be the same principle. (I also have a super easy recipe for Veggie Thai Curry you might like as well) The only thing that might take a bit of effort is finding a berbere spice mix, but with online shopping, (and the help of Amazon prime) you’ll have a little spice tin of goodness in no time! I bought mine from a little spice shop called The Silk Road in Missoula, Montana where they hand craft all their own spice mixes.
You can use any veggies that you normally like in curry. For this particular recipe, I used broccoli as my primary veggie, but zucchini, carrots, and snap peas are all great options too. I also promise that once you taste the flavor of berbere, you’ll be hooked and wanting to put it on everything, (try rubbing it on meats before grilling them, and you can thank me later)!
So what is berbere anyways because if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably never heard of it before. As the guy from the spice shop where I bought mine told me, ‘it’s basically an Ethiopian chili and spice mix, and be sure to get 2 because you’re going to be needing it’. And you know what… he was right, this stuff is so good! Some people are even going as far as to call it ‘the spice for everything’ and I’m inclined to think they’re right.
For this curry, I started by browning the chicken and removing it from the pan so that it can be added in towards the end to avoid tough dry chicken.
Once the onions start to become tender, I like to add the berbere spice mix to the pan and sauté briefly to help bring out the flavors of the spices.
If you do choose to use broccoli in this curry, the stems are really nice thinly sliced. I peel away the tough outer layer before slicing them, and once they’re cooked, the stems have a sweetness and nice texture to them.
Once the stems are peeled, chop the whole crown of broccoli or whatever veggie you use into bite sized pieces.
I used fresh tomatoes blended into a chunky sauce for this recipe because I have an abundance of them right now. But to make this in the winter, just use a can of chopped tomatoes or whole tomatoes blended in place of the fresh tomatoes.
After a short simmer, this curry is ready to be enjoyed with plenty of rice, (or cauliflower rice) and chopped fresh cilantro if you want to go for a little extra pizazz.
I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with me outside my comfort zone, and I know you’ll absolutely love berbere if you love chilis!
- 1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 4 or 1 pound, cut into ½" pieces
- 3 Tablespoons butter, or avocado oil for dairy free
- 1 medium onion, diced, 12 ounces
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons berbere spice mix, see notes
- 2 crowns broccoli, 1 pound 6 ounces, see notes
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, 14 ounces, or 1-14 ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 Teaspoon sea salt, or to your taste
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- If you're using fresh tomatoes, place them in a blender and blend into a chunky sauce, set aside. If you're using chopped canned tomatoes, they're all ready to go.
- To prepare the broccoli, trim the end of the stems and peel away the tough outer layer. Then thinly slice the stems, and cut the florets into small bite sized pieces, set the prepared broccoli aside.
- Preheat a large skillet, 15" over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 Tablespoon of the butter or avocado oil to the pan along with the cut up chicken thighs. Turn the heat to high and sauté until browned and mostly done, don't worry if there's a little pink in the chicken because it's going to finish cooking later. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan, and set them aside.
- Lower the heat to medium high, and add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter or avocado oil to the pan along with the diced onion. Sauté until the onion is browned and beginning to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and berbere spice mix and cook for about 1 minute or until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.
- Then add the prepped broccoli, blended tomatoes/canned chopped tomatoes, and the can of coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Then lower the heat to low, add the chicken back into the pan, and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the broccoli is just tender and the chicken is fully cooked.
- Season to taste with sea salt, and stir in the chopped cilantro.
- Serve immediately with rice or cauliflower rice.
You can use any mix of veggie you'd like in this curry, zucchini, snap peas, and carrots are all great as well. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time if you're using snap peas as they cook faster than everything else.
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