Ethiopian Lamb

By Rachel Pitts

RECIPE: Ethiopian Lamb from "The Hungry Girls' Cookbook", on MiNDFOOD.

Ethiopian restaurants are starting to make an impact in Melbourne, and the food is unique. This dish, called tibs, has similarities to a curry, but it’s cooked like a stir-fry. In restaurants it is served with injera bread – large sourdough pancakes made of teff flour – so, if you have an Ethiopian restaurant or bakery near you, then definitely buy some injera and eat this dish with your hands, tearing off pieces of bread to pick up the pieces of lamb. If not, serve this with rice.

(This recipe appears in Volume 2 of The Hungry Girls’ Cookbook by Rachel Pitts, Leah Holscher and Katherine Bird).

Serves 4


1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

5 cloves

5 cardamom pods

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon chilli flakes

1/4 cup sweet paprika


700 g lamb, such as fillets or backstraps or meat trimmed from chump, leg or loin chops, diced

1 teaspoon salt

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cm piece of ginger, finely chopped

40 g butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, finely sliced

2–3 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved, or equivalent ripe regular tomatoes, diced

For the berbere, grind the fenugreek seeds to a powder using a mortar and pestle – the bigger and heavier the better, as these seeds are tough. Add the cloves, seeds from the cardamom pods, cumin, coriander and peppercorns one at a time, grinding each to a powder with the fenugreek. Stir in the remaining ingredients. This makes a little under 1/2 cup. Store in a jar.

Mix the lamb with the salt, garlic, ginger and 1 heaped tablespoon of the berbere, stirring well.

Put the butter, oil and onion in a wok and fry over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onion is soft and starting to brown. Turn the heat up to high and add the lamb. Stir-fry for a minute or so, until the lamb is brown all over. Add the tomatoes and continue stir-frying for another minute, until they release some of their juices and start to collapse. Turn off the heat; the lamb should still be a little pink in the middle.

Serve with injera or rice, and with a simple green salad, perhaps lettuce, cucumber, red onion and capsicum in a tangy lemon dressing.


An interview with the recipes editor of The Hungry Girls’ Cookbook.

For stockist information or to buy Volume 1 and 2 online visit (Sold in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom).


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