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  • Writer's pictureAngela, Digital Chef, Africa Analyst

Stir-fried beef - Ethiopian derek tibs

Ethiopians have an insatiable appetite for meat, and the country is one of the world's leading livestock producers, with herds of animals visible everywhere.

Walking down the street in Addis Ababa, you'll get a whiff of raw meat – and I mean fleshy raw meat where you can almost smell the animal's grass – it’s fantastic – at least for those who enjoy meat. Ethiopian vegetarian food is popular, especially on fasting days, however most Ethiopians prefer meat whenever they get the opportunity.

Some males prefer gored gored, which is a slab of raw beef sushi. However, for a cooked version, it is advisable to try the tibs, more specifically, the Derek tibs, which are simply sautéed in butter with a hint of spice.

Tibs come in a variety of flavors and textures, but the most common is a certain sort of meat (either beef, lamb, or goat) cooked in Ethiopian butter with a few spices, onions, and peppers. Tibs is Ethiopia's equivalent of nyama choma.

Derek tibs are the variation that is cooked dry, similar to stir-frying, but with just some butter in a skillet and searing the meat until some bits get crisp. It's usually served in a burning earthenware dish on a bed of hot coals. This helps to keep the meat hot and give that taste of crispy meat at the bottom.

A side sauce known as awaze, made with Ethiopian mustard and chili powder, is almost usually served with Ethiopian tibs. The mustard has a wasabi-like sting to it, and the sauce is mildly spicy. It goes well with the meat. In addition to the awaze sauce, tibs are always served with injera, Ethiopia's staple bread, which you'll consume for every meal.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 2 pounds of beef cut into small chunks

  • 1 tbsp neutral oil, such as sunflower / or butter

  • 5 sprigs rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon of berbere (An Ethiopian spice blend.) It can be found in specialty spice shops

  • 1 thinly sliced red onion

  • 2 thinly sliced red bell peppers

  • 2 long green chilies (optional), finely chopped, or whatever color chili pepper you prefer

  • salt


1. In a deep saucepan over high heat, heat the oil, stir in the onion, bell pepper, and chili over high heat until they have softened somewhat (3-4 minutes).

2. Add the beef, turning regularly to allow the fat to render and the steak to brown (5-7 minutes).

3. Season with salt and toss in the rosemary and berbere.

4. Cook until meat has been thoroughly cooked ( a few more minutes).

5. Serve with either rice, veggies, bread, injera, and a sprinkling of chili (optional).

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