Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry | Get Inspired Everyday!

This Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry was my first experience with berbere spice. I was instantly hooked on the incredible flavors!

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry | Get Inspired Everyday!

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. They hand craft all their own spice mixes, and you can order right from them online.

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry | Get Inspired Everyday!

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 Ethiopian Berbere anyways?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably never heard of it before. It’s a mix of spices usually including: chili, paprika, fenugreek, ginger, coriander, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, all spice, turmeric, and a few others as well.

It’s hard to describe what it tastes like, but here are a few flavors: earthy, light fruitiness from the chili, and ends on a spicy note. Also different mixes vary a lot, so be careful how much you use. The spice mix I’ve been telling you about is nice and balanced where the heat isn’t overpowering.

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.

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry | Get Inspired Everyday!

How to make this Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry:

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.

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry | Get Inspired Everyday!

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.

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry | Get Inspired Everyday!

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.

Broccoli prepped and ready for the curry!

Once the stems are peeled, chop the whole crown of broccoli or whatever veggie you use into bite sized pieces.

Blended tomatoes for the curry!

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 also work, blended in place of the fresh tomatoes.

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry | Get Inspired Everyday!

After a short simmer, this curry is ready to be enjoyed with plenty of rice, (or cauliflower rice). Also a little chopped fresh cilantro if you want to go for a little extra pizazz.

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry | Get Inspired Everyday!

I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with me outside my comfort zone. And I know you’ll absolutely love Ethiopian Berbere spice if you love chilis! If you do make it, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below. And I always love hearing from you here. Or over on Instagram where you can tag me at #getinspiredeveryday with your photos.

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry | Get Inspired Everyday!

Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry

  • Author: Get Inspired Everyday! - Inspired by The Silk Road
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This Ethiopian curry is a favorite because of the addicting flavor of the berbere spice mix!



  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 4 or 1 pound, cut into 1/2” 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, or to taste, see notes
  • 2 crowns broccoli, 1 pound 6 ounces, see notes
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, 14 ounces, or 114 ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Teaspoon sea salt, or to your taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Season to taste with sea salt, and stir in the chopped cilantro.
  7. Serve immediately with rice or cauliflower rice.


I bought my berbere spice mix from The Silk Road in Missoula Montana where they handcraft all their mixes. All spice mixes vary in heat, so add to taste!
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.

  • Category: Curry
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Ethiopian

Keywords: Ethiopian Berbere, Chicken, Chicken Curry, Whole30, Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free


26 Comments on “Ethiopian Inspired Berbere Chicken Curry”

  1. I found Berbere Spice Blend at my local Spice & Tea Exchange- they make all their spice blends by hand in the store! Great recipe- LOVE Berbere Spice Blend!

    1. There isn’t any curry powder or spice in this particular curry, what makes it a curry is the berbere spice mix. I sure hope you enjoy it, and be sure and let me know how it goes, or if you have anymore questions!

  2. Are there any proper substitutes for coconut milk? I cant find it anywhere in my town

    1. There’s definitely nothing that’s the same as coconut milk in a curry, but you could try using 1 cup of heavy cream and a squeeze of lime juice at the end of the cooking time. I hope this helps, and hopefully you’ll be able to find coconut milk in the future. I live in a small town, and even the local grocery stores carry it in a small Asian section. But if no one has it, you might consider ordering from Amazon if you really like curries!

  3. Just made this! Thanks so much for sharing!
    I found the spice in my local stop and shop!
    For coconut milk 1 can I figured it was the 14 oz one — saw smaller ones in the store but decided on the 14 oz. used canned diced tomatoes without added salt.
    For veggies I added broccoli, 1/2 of a red pepper, some cherry tomatoes (handful) that were gonna go bad in my fridge, and kale thinly sliced that I had available from another nights dinner (about a cup). It was getting a little dry with all the veggies so I added just a tad of chickenbroth.

    This is a very versatile dish and you can add in a whole lotta veggies! Very tasty. Hubby loved it!

    1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it! And thanks so much for letting me know about the coconut milk, they’re coming in so many sizes now I need to specify in future recipes!

  4. We made the recipe as posted and it was easy to make and tasted fabulous! We loved the spicyness and thought it was well balanced. Such a great basic recipe. My husband and I started thinking up other combinations of veggies and meats that we could use with the fragrant base. Thanks for the recipe. It’s a keeper and we’ll pass this one on to family and friends.

  5. I love this recipe and have done it a few times albeit with only 1 spoon of berbere mix. The smell in the kitchen is divine! I intend doing a vegetarian version for a veggie friend do you have any suggestions? I was thinking butternut squash, sweet potato maybe? Thank you for the wonderful recipe

    1. When I do vegetarian curries in the fall/winter, I like to do a mix of butternut, onions, carrots, and parsnips roasted and caramelized in the oven, then I add them in. Sweet potato would work well with that mix too! I sure hope this helps and be sure to let me know how it goes, or if you have anymore questions!

  6. I am anxious to try this recipe, but I buy Berbere from Pensey’s spices, and I know for sure that 2 T. of their Berbere would be too hot to eat! The bottle recommends 1 T for a recipe serving four, and even that was so hot that I had to add rice to the finished product to eat it. So with Berbere, beware!

    1. Definitely, all spice mixes are so different! I just added a note to the recipe, so thanks so much for commenting because I should’ve added that before!

  7. Thank you so much for this recipe. It has brought me and many friends much joy and healthy eating. I use this often with slight variations.

    1. I’m so glad to hear you’ve been enjoying it, thanks so much for writing! I love to hear when anyone is enjoying healthy food with friends and family!

  8. We made this tonight and were prepared for a beautiful dish of goodness. Whew! Almost too spicy for my husband and definitely for me, but that might be due to the spice mix we ordered from Amazon. Don’t know how you test a mix like that before using it, but will make the recipe again and use less berbere spice. We enjoyed the basic mix of flavors, just too hot. And it makes a beautiful presentation.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it even if it was a bit too spicy for you! My way of testing out new spice blends to me is to actually taste a bit of the spices before adding them to a dish. If it feels super spicy right away on my tongue I know to proceed with caution! I hope this helps you out for the future when you’re trying out new spices. 🙂

  9. I love easy dinner recipes, especially when they turn out to be something my whole family loves!. This one also looks tasty and i hope me and my whole family will definitely love this. I’ll try this for sure .

    1. I definitely love the classics, but trying something new and surprising your family is lots of fun too – I hope they love it!

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