one green planet
one green planet

I was amazed the first time I tried Ethiopian food. The cuisine incorporates beans and legumes very well into the meals, and if you go into any Ethiopian restaurant in the U.S., you’re bound to have plenty of plant-based dishes to choose from on the menu. Ethiopians make a tasty Injera bread out of teff flour, which is used to mop up the flavorful stews and dishes. Give this cuisine a try if you’re eating plant-based and check out these five Ethiopian spices and flours.

1. Mitten Shiro

Mitten shiro is seasoned ground chickpea flour that is used to make a popular Ethiopian dish called Shiro. This dish is a stew that is often prepared with minced onions, garlic and sometimes ground ginger, chopped tomatoes and chili peppers. This stew is served atop injera or kitcha bread. If eaten with a spoon, the stew is called shiro fit-fit. See this recipe for how to make Ethiopian shiro.

2. Mekelesha

Mekelesha (or Wot Kimem) is a blend of 7 spices that is used to give a finishing flavor for most Ethiopian red wot (stew) dishes. You can find this spice online and in stores. Try adding it to your own soups and stews, especially hearty meals like lentil soup. Use mekelesha in this recipe for Vegan Tofu Wot.

3. Berbere

Berbere is the most popular spice for Ethiopian cooking and is comprised of a blend of red chili, garlic, salt, paprika and several other spices. Depending on where you go in Ethiopia and who you ask, this spice mixture can vary from cook to cook and household to household. Follow this link for a recipe to make your own berbere spice mix.

4. Korerima

Korerima is a large, black pod cardamon, and it is not the same as the smaller, Indian black cardamon. Ethiopian korerima is about the size of a date and contains many small black round seeds. It is often roasted and then ground into a powder for use in many dishes.

5. Teff Flour

Teff flour is used to make an Ethiopian bread called injera, which is a sourdough-risen flatbread that has a slightly spongy texture. Injera has a taste and consistency unlike any bread you’ve tried. You may not like it the first time you try it because it has a sour taste, but use it to mop up those delicious Ethiopian stews and bean dishes, and you’ll see the taste balances well. Try this Authentic Injera recipe from

6. Barley Flour

Barley flour is a fine powder made by grinding whole barley grain. It is often used alongside teff flour to make that famous Injera flatbread. Use it for this Teff and Barley Injera.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons