Small Plates

By Ashley Beck | December 10, 2012

Shiro is an essential part of the Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. A favorite during Lent and Ramadan, it’s often prepared with minced onions and garlic, and some regions even add ground ginger, chopped tomatoes and chili peppers to the smooth, chickpea flour-based mixture. Served with injera or this honey bread, it’s predominantly a vegan dish although some versions contain meat.

  • 2 medium onions , diced
  • 1 tomato , pureed (or 4 oz tomato puree)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup Shiro powder (dried chickpea powder)
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp Berbere (Ethiopian spice mix)


1. Start by pureeing the onions in a blender. Dump the onion mush into a hot dry skillet. Stir frequently until the water evaporates and the onions start to get just a tiny bit of light brown color. Once the onions begin to color a bit, add 1/2 cup of oil and berbere. (If you like more of a kick, add 2-3 times more than the suggested amount.)

2. Let onion, oil, and berbere infuse for a mintute or two then add pureed tomato.

3. Before you add the shiro powder, make sure that you have the water close by. Add your shiro powder gradually, briskly stirring. It will get thick very quickly. Once the shiro seems pretty well mixed into the oil, add 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water. Stir well.

4. Simmer until shiro spread is at desired consistency. Can be served with pita bread, rice, roti, or Ethiopian honey bread.

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