Eritrean Zigni (spicy stew) recipe

Eritrean Zigni (spicy stew) recipe

“Eritrean coffee reminds me of my family, as we gathered around the coffee table: every morning or afternoon, my mum used to drink coffee and we would sit with her.”

We really enjoyed traditional Eritrean injera (flatbread) and zigni (a very spicy stew), “its very spicy so we don’t eat it very often – we tend to eat what the kids like, which tends to be pasta or rice and stew.”

The family Zigni recipe:
This is a traditional Ethiopian/Eritrean dish. It’s very hot, so be prepared – if you’re used to hot curries, you’ll love it! One of the main ingredients is berbere pepper which is a spice blend of mostly paprika and chilli with some other spices. Once you’ve made your blend, it’s delicious sprinkled on meat set for the BBQ, and in hot tomato sauces.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1cup vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2lbs chicken, cubed
2 cans of plum tomatoes with liquid
2 beef stock cubes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1cup dry red wine (optional)
lemon juice (optional)
fresh coriander (optional)

For the Berbere pepper blend:
1teaspoon ground ginger
1teaspoon ground fenugreek
1teaspoon ground black pepper
12teaspoon ground coriander
12teaspoon ground cardamom
14teaspoon ground cloves
14teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon mild paprika


1. Chop the onions and garlic fry until golden.
2. Add the chicken and fry until sealed
3. Add the rest of the ingredients (including the Berbere blend), and leave to simmer very slowly until the meat is tender (1 ½ to 2 hours). Serve with traditional Eritrean injera (flatbread) or bread or rice and a green salad.