Eritrean Fiery Potato Stew (D'Nish Zigni) - Recipe

I made this recipe in honor of "Africa Day" designated for May 25th, 2010. I was inspired to put this post together by Casey Angelova over at "Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria" who encouraged other foodies and bloggers to help recognize the diverse and often under-appreciated cuisine from the African Continent. At first I had no idea what to make because I don't have a lot of experience with African cuisine. The more I thought about it though, I knew I wanted to try and re-create an awesome potato dish I had at my Eritrean friend's house several months ago. So, I did a search for some recipes online and found something that sounded like what I remembered eating. Although it doesn't compare to the authentic Eritrean spicy potatoes my friend's mom made that day, it is pretty darn close.  

When I originally tried to recreate this a few months ago, it didn't come out quite right--but that's because it was missing one key ingredient: Berbere. Berbere is a staple in Eritrean cuisine. It is a complex blend of chilis, peppercorns and lots of other spices that I don't normally use, such as fenugreek, cardamom, cloves and coriander ---I would liken it to a super hot Indian curry spice - but African style. It also includes the more familiar cinnamon and allspice. You can get the complete recipe for Eritrean Berbere here.

Other than mixing and roasting the spices for the Berbere, the recipe itself was pretty easy (Note: If you do decide to make your own berbere, make sure you open a window! The aroma from roasting and stirring a bunch of chilis caused lots of whooping and coughing in my house! :). Overall, I was really pleased with how this came out. The dish is so simple, yet the flavors are so complex. Served along with some pita and yogurt (I used Turkish pide), this makes a great lunch entree or dinner side dish. I hope you'll give it a try.

D'Nish Zigni (Fiery Potato Stew) 
(Recipe taken from recipeisland.com - which was adapted from Olivia Warren's "Taste of Eritrea.")

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion — Chopped
4 Teaspoons Berbere — Or Hot Sauce
6 Medium Potato — Cubed ( I peeled before cutting)
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 Teaspoon Salt
4 Cups Chicken Stock (I used vegetable broth)

Directions: Saute onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add berbere, and potatoes, saute for 5 minutes. Add broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and salt, simmer for 10 more minutes (I simmered 25 minutes instead of 10). Serve with injera or pita bread.



  1. You are becoming quite a good food photographer.

  2. Thanks so much! Having lots of fun trying :)

  3. This sounds so good, Toya. I tried to make an Ethiopian/Euritrean bread the other day, and it bombed (sigh). I wanted to enter into Casey's event, but I didn't have time to try again....

  4. This looks fantastic. I love East African food and have heard of Berbere but had no idea what it was all about. Can't wait to try this out!

  5. I am completely addicted to berbere seasoning -- this sounds wonderful!

  6. This looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing such a unique dish and participating in Africa Day :)

  7. @cblu - Thanks. I'm definitely an East African cuisine convert now! : )

    @Beatrice - I understand your Berbere addiction. I'm already imagining all the other dishes I can add it to..

    @Casey - Thanks again for your work organizing the blogger event!

    Cheers, everyone!


  8. Wow! This is right up my alley! I love potatoes, I love spice and the blend you used sounds absolutely intriguing. You're right - it does sound like an Indian curry on steroids ;) Great post - one I enjoyed reading!

  9. This looks super! Have had a couple of brushes with Ethiopian foods and have always been impressed with the simple but flavourful fare.

  10. This is totally my kind of dish, I already know I would love it. I haven't made my own berbere yet, but I've been meaning to - thanks for the inspiration!

  11. that looks really delicious! it's great to recognize the contributions of every cuisine and culture. thanks for sharing!

  12. Hey Toya, I know you're busy, but I would love it if you checked out my post over at Lazaro Cooks (smile)...

  13. @ Denise - Thanks for checking it out. I'm excited my sister-in law is going to be making it this weekend. Though I warned her to cut back on the berbere - cause that stuff is H-O-T!

    @Marisa - Thanks for visiting my blog. I meant to mention in the post that Ethiopian and Eritrean food are supposedly almost identical. I really like how simple but flavorful the food is too. I tend to make some complicated things..but I love really easy, tasty food.

    @Trix - Thanks for stopping by. Glad you were inspired :) A word of caution: unless you love fiendishly hot things, I might reduce the amount of chili peppers called for if you venture to make your own berbere.

    @kenzie - I had a lot of fun experimenting with this dish. I had no idea African cuisine was so diverse - yet how much in common it has with other cuisines. Thanks for checking it out!

    @Stella--I'm only busy relaxing, playing solitaire-scrabble and recovering from this past semester! lol. Great guest post - thanks for keeping me in mind. ;)

    Cheers Everyone!