Creamy Ethiopian Berbere Chicken Curry

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This Creamy Ethiopian Berbere Chicken Curry is super easy, and takes just a few minutes of prep work! It’s deeply flavored with the chili spice mix that makes it taste like you spent hours in the kitchen, but there are only a few simple ingredients. It’s naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, and perfect served with freshly steamed rice or cauliflower rice.

Ethiopian Berbere Chicken Curry in a white skillet on a white background with a wooden spoon.

Have you tried Ethiopian Berbere spice mix yet? If not it’s more than worth a few minutes to track some down because it’s incredibly flavorful! You can also put together curries and stir fries in just minutes because all the spices are conveniently mixed together, and ready to go for you.

You can check out below where I get my spice mix, but first, let’s talk about this curry shall we? It’s perfectly creamy as you might expect from a coconut curry.

I love the flavors of Ethiopian Berbere and it makes a wonderful Ethiopian-inspired curry. Berbere curries are usually tomato-based. But I think you’ll find you love the combination of both tomato and coconut milk to make it creamy yet still dairy-free.

Straight down view of Ethiopian Berbere Chicken Curry in a white skillet.

It’s perfectly flavored with a mix of onions, garlic, and ginger that compliments the berbere spice mix. And for a veggie, I added in loads of roughly chopped fresh spinach right at the end for an easy way to add more greens to your diet.

Also, I have so many packages of frozen greens in my freezer I put up from our Farmer’s Market last year that I need to use. So I’ve been creating curry recipes to make good use of all those frozen greens.

Let’s get started making this Creamy Ethiopian Berbere Chicken Curry

All the ingredients for the Berbere Chicken Curry prepped and placed in bowls.

Step 1: Start by prepping all of your ingredients. This recipe comes together pretty quickly, then just simmers for a bit. So it’s best to have everything ready to go!

Sautéed chicken in a bowl next to a skillet with onions being sautéed.

Step 2: Next, we’re going to sauté the chicken, then remove it from the pan, and set it aside in a bowl.

Then after the chicken has been sautéed, we’re going to cook the onion together with the garlic and ginger over medium-low heat until softened.

Tip: Use ground chicken, turkey, or pork in place of the chicken thighs to speed things up. When you use ground meat you get to skip cutting up raw meat! This is one of my favorite ‘busy night’ dinner tricks.

The berbere curry sauce simmered down in a white skillet and the chicken being added back in.

Step 3: From there it’s time to add the spice mix, tomato sauce, and coconut milk. Bring the curry to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the flavors meld, about 10-15 minutes.

This step helps the onion, garlic, and ginger flavors to infuse the curry and make sure there’s no crunch of partially cooked ginger.

Then we’ll add the chicken back to the pan, and cook for a couple of minutes, or until just done.

The final recipe step of adding the spinach to the curry to wilt it.

Step 4: And finally, it’s time to add the chopped fresh spinach, (or frozen chopped greens that you like). It’s definitely a lot to add to the pan. So spread it out and allow it to slightly wilt before you mix it in!

After the spinach has just wilted, taste and adjust the sea salt and serve!

Ways to serve this

FAQ’s

How spicy is Ethiopian Berbere Spice?

Ethiopian Berbere spice is a mix that varies in the amount of heat it has much like curry powder. The one I use is warm rather than hot and this isn’t sponsored, but you can find it at The Silk Road Catering under Berbere Spice Mix. We really love their spice mixes because they’re so well-balanced and don’t have any additives.

What is Ethiopian Berbere Spice, and what is made of?

It’s a mix of spices usually including chili, paprika, fenugreek, ginger, coriander, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, allspice, turmeric, and a few others as well. It’s hard to describe exactly what it tastes like. But here are a few flavors: earthy, light fruitiness from the chili, and ends on a spicy note.

Storing leftovers

  • To store – place your leftover berbere curry into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead – this curry reheats well, just be sure to overcook the chicken.
  • Reheating – place the curry into a saucepan or large skillet and heat over medium heat until heated through.
  • To freeze – freeze any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating.

And lastly if you’re looking for something else to do with berbere spice, check out my Ethiopian Berbere Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry!

I sure hope you get a chance to make this curry soon. And if you do, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below. I always love hearing from you here in the comments. And also over on Instagram where you can tag me at #getinspiredeveryday with your photos!

Creamy Ethiopian Berbere Chicken Curry


5 from 15 votes
Author: Kari Peters
Yield: 6 servings
Course: Dinner

INGREDIENTS  

  • 1 pound boneless - skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion - finely diced, 2 cups
  • 1 clove garlic - minced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp berbere spice mix - to taste, see notes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce - plain not seasoned
  • 1 can coconut milk - full fat, 13.66 oz
  • 5 cups spinach - roughly chopped, 5 ounces
  • 1 tsp sea salt - or salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Prep all the ingredients before you begin cooking. Preheat a 9-10" skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil along with the chicken. Sauté until the chicken is beginning to brown and is mostly cooked, 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Then add the remaining 1 tablespoon avocado oil to the pan along with the onion, garlic, and ginger.
  • Sauté over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to turn translucent. Add the berbere spice mix and stir to combine before adding the tomato sauce and coconut milk.
  • Bring the curry to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened and the flavors meld about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan along with the spinach. Pile the spinach over the top of the curry, and let the heat of it simmering wilt the spinach for about 1 minute before starting to mix it in. This helps the spinach not to go overboard! 
  • Once the spinach is just wilted, 2-3 minutes, season to taste with sea salt and serve immediately! Leftovers reheat well on the stovetop.
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NOTES

Berbere spice mixes vary in heat greatly. The one I use that’s listed in the blog post is warm to the tongue when you taste it plain. If you’re not sure, taste yours, and you can always add less to be sure it’s not too spicy.
Tip: You can save back 1-2 tablespoons of coconut milk to drizzle over the top of the finished curry for a nice presentation!
Category: Dinner
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Keywords: Berbere Chicken Curry, Berbere Curry, Berbere Curry with Spinach, Ethiopian Berbere Curry

nutrition facts

Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 831mg | Potassium: 620mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2553IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 5mg
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22 thoughts on “Creamy Ethiopian Berbere Chicken Curry”

  1. 5 stars
    Made this last night! I added about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the seasoning…it was perfect! Filled with a wonderful curry flavor accented by the ginger! We loved it. And, it went together very quickly!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Making this tonight for dinner. Used Soy Curls instead of chicken and arugula instead of spinach. Flavors are very good. Look forward to more recipes from your kitchen,

    AJ and Jann

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    Quick and easy. We had most of the ingredients and only needed fresh spinach. This is the 2nd Indian dish we have made. It was delicious, minimum prep and minimum cleanup. Spinach as part of the meal adds a lot to dinner. We substituted fresh garlic and ginger for the pre-diced in a jar kind. Berbere hid our short cuts. Thanks for an awesome dinner.

    Reply
    • So glad to hear you enjoyed it, it’s a favorite in our house too and we always try for quick and easy recipes so it’s wonderful to hear it was easy to make!

      Reply
  4. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! We enjoy curries and this was a hit. Quite simple to make, packed full of flavor, and customizable. We use frozen spinach and it turns out just fine. Have made multiple times already. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  5. 5 stars
    Made with 2 cans of chickpeas instead of chicken, therefore skipped the first step and added these into the simmering sauce. Also subbed the avocado oil for coconut oil as I didn’t have any. Served with rice and flatbreads. Really tasty. Froze half for another day. Will definitely make again. Thank you for the recipe.

    Reply
  6. 5 stars
    Excellent! I used broccoli instead of Spinach.
    Good South African free range chicken too.
    Mixed the Berbere spices too, ready for another meal!

    Reply
    • I’m so impressed you mixed your own Berbere as well, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it, (good meat makes all the difference doesn’t it?)!

      Reply

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