Ethiopia : Kitfo

What you need

 For a serving of 2 – 4 

  • 500g fresh minced beef/beef tartare
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of mekelesha (a blend of korerima, or “false cardamom,” or “black cardamom;” cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorn, and cumin)
  • 2 tablespoons of mitmita (a blend of cayenne, or birds eye chillies; cloves; cardamom seeds and salt)
  • 1 teaspoon of berbere
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of niter kibbeh (clarified butter, infused with garlic, ginger, onion, black pepper, oregano, fenugreek, and tumeric)
  • 1 tablespoon of cooked, finely-chopped gomen (collard greens)
  • 1 tablespoon of ayib (Ethiopian, fresh cottage cheese)
  • 2 pieces of kocho (fermented green leaf sheaths of the False Banana tree)
  • salt to taste


Ensure that your minced beef is finely chopped.

On a flat, hot pan, heat the serving leaf and kocho, turning them over so they don’t burn.

Now, in a pan, lightly fry/heat the gomen and season it with 1 teaspoon of berbere, 1 tablespoon of the kibbeh and 1 teaspoon of mekelesha. After about two minutes on the pan, transfer it to your serving dish. Next to it, include the ayib.

In a small pot and on low heat, mix together a cup of kibbeh, 2 tablespoons of mitmita, and 1 tablespoon of mekelesha. Stir for about a minute before removing from the fire.

Thoroughly mix the tartar in with the mitmita, mekelesha and kibbeh blend.

Once this is done, put it back on low heat, continuing to mix. Lightly cook for ±1 minute and add a little bit more kibbeh if necessary, to prevent the beef from sticking to the pot.

You can serve the kitfo at this point – warm but still a tartar – or you can cook it fora further ±5 minutes, so that the beef is lightly cooked. The cooked version of this dish is called “kitfo leb leb.”

Serve the kitfo on the False Banana leaf. Drizzle a teaspoon of kibbeh on the kitfo and side dishes of gomen and ayib. Plate with injera and kocho.



    Jember Teklu

    Recipe and Preparation

    Workenesh Menji


    Workenesh Menji is one of a skilled team of chefs at Gursha, a new restaurant in the centre of Addis Ababa. Each dish is prepared with care and attention and the restaurant is spacious, comfortable and beautiful.

    Camera and Edit

    Tuleka Prah


    Title: Plaster Combo

    Artist: Blue Dot Sessions

Video Transcript

“My favourite food would be kitfo, of course. Yes, kitfo – I love it because… Like I said, it’s the butter. The way they make the butter – the way they season it; even the seasoning – the spices they put in there is so beautiful.

Well, it’s something like tartare. The beef tartare, or the French dish. But then, you can picture this with well-seasoned butter and then you have the spice. Like the hot, chilli spice.

Of course kitfo can be made in different ways. Some of them like it a bit cooked, some of them like it just raw.

It’s very good. It’s just got that feeling. Especially along with ayib, which is – we also call it… we may call it sour cheese. Yes, ayib that is. And then, on the side we can have kocho, which is made of the False Banana tree. It’s like a bread, but then very nice taste. It’s just amazing.

I cannot even; I don’t know how to describe it. You should have it!”