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Awaze - Tasty Ethiopian Chilli Paste

Updated on February 16, 2015

Awaze Can Spice up Any Dish

Awaze is a paste based on berbere, the Ethiopian chilli mixture. It can kept for a long time and used whenever you want to add that little extra to a dish. It is really quick and easy to make. In Ethiopia it is often eaten together with fried meat (tibs), but it is equally good with vegetables or fish. Why not experiment and try something new?

Buy Berbere Here

Berbere is a mixture of chillies and spice. The chillies are spread out in the sun to dry, and then ground together with the spice.

Have a look at the pictures on how to make awaze. After that, there will be a printable recipe, so you will have it all in one place. Then, I will share my secret recipe for "Fish with Awaze"- a very popular dish!

The Ingredients for Awaze

awaze ingredients
awaze ingredients

Basically, there are three ingredients. Berbere, whiskey and oil. I use olive oil, EVVO, but you can use any oil you like. If you don't have any berbere, there is a good recipe on how to prepare it here: Making Berbere

Mixing Awaze

mixing awaze
mixing awaze

Mix the berbere with hot water, then slowly add the oil. The result will be a rather thick paste.I like mixing it with water first, so it does not get too much fat.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

It is important to use a good oil for awaze, but it does not have to be EVVO.

Awaze with Whiskey

awaze with whiskey
awaze with whiskey

Now, add the whiskey to the paste, a little at the time. When you have reached a smooth consistency, it is enough. Keep in mind that the berbere will swell a bit, and the paste will get thicker.

Canning Jar

Why not put the awaze in a nice jar, then you can use it straight on the table as a side-dish?



Put the finished awaze paste in a sterilized jar. It will keep for months, and don't have to be kept in the fridge.

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I usually prepare one small jar at the time, it lasts long for me. It is easy to make more or less, according to your needs. We use whiskey, but try any stronger.alcohol you like. This paste is best when prepared in advance, it gets better when a little "matured". But,of course, you can make one quickly if you feel like eating some.


  • 1 cup berbere
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup whiskey


  1. Mix berbere and hot water. It will be a thick paste. Now, add the oil, mixing very well. Finally, slowly add the whiskey. If you think the consistency is good, no need to add all of it. Put the paste in a sterilized jar. Does not need to be kept in the fridge, will keep for months.
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How To Use Awaze

Normally, awaze is eaten together with fried meat, tibs. You take a piece of meat, dip it in awaze, and enjoy! However, the paste is versatile, use your fantasy. Wherever you would enjoy chilli, you can use awaze.

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • Yields: 4

Fish With Awaze

  • 3/4 lb fish fillet
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp awaze
  • 1 stock cube


  1. Cut the fish in bite-size chunks, making sure there are no bones. Bring the tomatoes to a boil in a wide pan, then add the stock cube. Leave it to boil for about ten minutes, the tomatoes will reduce to a thick sauce. Add the fish and let it simmer until the fish is ready (about ten minutes). Be careful when stirring so the fish doesn't break. Serve with rice or naan-bread.

An American Version of Berbere

Tibs with Awaze

If you want to eat the meat without the awaze, just skip the last step.

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 15 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • Yields: 4


  • 1 lb tender meat- cut in small pieces
  • 1 onion- finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic-finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp ethiopian butter (optional)
  • 1 green chilli- deseeded and cut in pieces
  • 2 tbsp awaze
  • oil and salt


  1. Start out by frying the meat in a little oil, the pan should be really hot. When fried well on one side, stir the pan, at the same time adding the onions and garlic. Let it all fry together until golden brown. Add the chilli and butter, give it a good stir, then add the awaze. Let it all fry together a few minutes, mixing it well. Eat with injera, bread or rice.

Have You Ever Had Awaze? - Did You Like It?

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    • profile image

      Barbara J 2 years ago

      This is a great article. I recently started cooking my own Ethiopian food, mainly Misir and Shiro wot. I have to say, the experience has been great. I bought imported berbere from for five dollar. I am planning to try making Doro wot soon

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Whiskey and chili paste. It has to be unique tasting.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've never tried Awaze, but I like spicy food so I'm sure I'll like it, especially on fish.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I don't think I have tried this before but yesterday, I made th emits take of adding chili paste, too much of it, in my soup and I coughed so hard.

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 4 years ago

      I love spicy.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 4 years ago from United States

      Wishing you a lovely Valentine's Day filled with tons of blessings starting with this one!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was here just a few months ago but stopped by for an Awaze refresher, very nicely presented!

    • profile image

      Murati 5 years ago

      I like your chilly lense? Do You like mine?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Berbere and awaze are new to me and sounds like a very nice dip and maybe even nice spread on bread for a sandwich. I guess the whiskey must be enough to preserve it with that long shelf life without refrigeration, sounds like something I would enjoy and well presented by you!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 6 years ago

      I've never tried it.

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      I am determind to try it asap!