What Is Awaze?
Awaze, also known as Dilih in some parts of Ethiopia, is one of the most popular Ethiopian traditional Ethiopian sauces.
Traditionally, Awaze is usually made during special occasions such as Christmas, New Year, Weddings, etc. It is typically served as a dipping sauce for Tere Siga (Q’wirt) or Raw Meat, which is an important Ethiopian delicacy.
While Raw Meat is not for everybody, Awaze can also be served with any other traditional Ethiopian meat dish, or even any other Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian dish.
In addition to being used as dipping, Awaze can also be used as a spread, or as a base for your Wot (Ethiopian Stew) or any other stew or soup you can think of. Try it! You will not regret it.
Ingredients Used to Make Awaze
A well-prepared Awaze is not only spicy but also very delicious. As it does not require cooking, Awaze is quite easy to prepare. It is traditionally prepared by mixing a few ingredients. All you need is to get these ingredients and you are well on your way to enjoying Awaze.
However, as Awaze is native to Ethiopia and you may find it hard to come by the required ingredients outside of Ethiopia. So, we have linked where you can get these ingredients.
Moreover, if you are the kind of person that likes a bit of a challenge and would like to try to prepare the ingredients from scratch by yourself, we have linked to recipes you can follow.
Here are the ingredients required to make an authentic Ethiopian Awaze sauce:
- Berbere – a popular Ethiopian spice blend made of dried chili peppers, garlic, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, cloves fenugreek, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, and onion. If you’re interested in making your own Berbere you can use this recipe here.
- Mitmita – is another very popular Ethiopian spice blend that’s made from chili peppers, cloves, cardamom, and salt.
- Niter kibbeh – is an Ethiopian spiced clarified butter or ghee. If you’re interested in making your own Niter Kibbeh you can use this recipe here.
- Tej – is Ethiopian honey wine.
What is the difference between Berbere and Mitmita?
Berbere and Mitmita are different in that Berbere contains more spices than Mitmita does. Because of this, the effects of the chili papers are less pronounced in Berbere, making Mitmita hotter than Berbere.
How To Make Awaze
As mentioned earlier, making Awaze is easy as long as you have access to all of the above-mentioned ingredients.
First mix the dry ingredients (berbere, mitmita, and salt) together. Then add the Tej and mix them up together. Finally, add the Niter Kibbeh and mix thoroughly until you get a smooth paste.
Now, while you can use the mix as is, an authentic Awaze needs to sit and ferment for about a week. So, place the blend into a clean and dry sealed container and let it sit in the fridge for about a week until the Awaze ferments properly.
The time required for the Awaze may be less or more than a week depending on the weather and humidity of where you live. So, check-in and see if the Awaze has fermented well enough.
You can check if the Awaze has fermented well by sight, smell, and taste. A well-fermented Awaze will have a softer and smoother consistency and smells and tastes different.
If you are using whole spices to prepare berbere and mitmita, it is essential to sift the blends before incorporating them into the other ingredients because the final result of the awaze should be smooth and without lumps.
It’s also best to take the Awaze out of the fridge a few minutes before using it so that the chilled butter will soften a little.
Proper Storage for Awaze
Awaze can be kept in the fridge or the freezer for longevity. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 – 4 months, and even longer in the freezer. However, it can go bad in a few weeks if kept outside of a fridge.
Tips On Making Awaze & Recipe Variations
- Like many Ethiopian dishes, the taste of Awaze can be different from one version to another. This difference is usually attributed to the differences in portions of spices used when preparing the Berbere and Mitmita, which are the base ingredients in making Awaze.
- Awaze is typically made to a rather thick consistency, but the consistency of the sauce can be made thinner depending on your preference and what the purpose of the Awaze is.
- Tej (Ethiopian Honey Wine) can be very difficult to come by outside of Ethiopia. In such cases, feel free to use other alcoholic spirits such as wine, gin, or vodka. You can use also use warm water and honey instead.
- If you don’t have access to Niter Kibbeh, you can use melted butter with a bit of oil and some spices as you prefer.
- If you feel like your Awaze is too thick, you can add some more Berbere. And, if you feel the Awaze is too thick, you can add some more Tej.
Equipment Recommendations to Make Awaze
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