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Nov 7, 2013 11:58 AM

African spices?

I am making an Ethiopian dish and it calls for spice called Berbere....Does anyone know any stores I may find this? I am in North York (Wilson/Bathurst). Thanks!

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  1. House of Spice on Augusta.

    1. I never heard of Berbere before, but I bought some at Penzey's on a recent trip to Buffalo. Tried it on a chicken dish and it was good but nothing exceptional.

      Berbere is a blend of fairly common ingredients, except for fenugreek. Fenugreek has a tart celery seed like flavor so substitute with a little celery seed if necessary.

      4 Replies
      1. re: PoppiYYZ

        If you think fenugreek tastes anything like celery seed, you were either doing what Rob Ford was doing, or someone gave you some bad fenugreek.

        1. re: foodyDudey

          Have dried fenugreek (MDH brand) recently purchased from an Indian grocery in Etobicoke. Chewed some straight before my last post and it has a bitter strong celery flavor. Others seem to think so too :

          BTW, Rob doesn't seem to like the leafy products...

          1. re: PoppiYYZ

            I read the link and they say it has a maple syrup taste and flavour. And then it says:

            Celery Leaf
            In some recipes, celery leaf may work as a substitute for dried or fresh fenugreek leaves. Although celery does not offer the maple-like flavor associated with its exotic counterpart, it does give food a sweet and slightly bitter flavor. Celery leaf's similar texture and appearance also make it a viable substitute.

            It does not say that celery tastes similar to fenugreek. Indians would never use celery in place of it.

            1. re: foodyDudey

              Go to a spice shop that has high turnover and buy the basic ingredients, preferably whole. Any blend you make fresh will have more aromatic qualities and better taste than a commercial blend that may have been packaged a year ago or more.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I get mine at Desta Meat Market at Danforth/Jones. The other Ethiopian strip is Bloor from Ossington east for a few blocks. There must be an ethiopian grocer along there?

          1. Yes, it's a spice blend and yes in a pinch you can make your own. But it won't taste right. There is something magical about berbere, I believe. While you're at Desta or wherever you decide to shop, you can buy fresh injera to go with whatever dish you're making.