Awaze Tibs (Ethiopian Spiced Lamb Stew)


Made with tender, boneless leg of lamb, this quick-cooking staple of Ethiopian home cooking is flavored with spicy, smoky, tangy awaze sauce.

Ethiopian Spiced Lamb Stew
Photo: © John Kernick
Total Time:
45 mins

Hiyaw Gebreyohannes' recipe for Awaze Tibs is especially saucy — all the better for mopping up with injera, Ethiopia's soft, fermented crêpe-like bread. Awaze, which translates to "spicy simmer sauce” in the Ethiopian language of Amharic, is a staple of Ethiopian cooking. It is used in braises like this one, and as a dipping sauce for grilled or roasted meats, seafood, and vegetables. It is seasoned with berbere. Berbere is a spice blend integral to Ethiopian cooking that commonly includes spicy peppers, cardamom, cumin, fenugreek, allspice, cinnamon, and clove.

Gebreyohannes uses lamb for this recipe, but you can make it with beef instead; try a quick-cooking cut, such as sirloin. Serve this with injera, naan, pita, or other flatbread, or with rice or couscous.


  • 2 tablespoons red wine

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon berbere (see Note)

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 3 1/2 pounds trimmed boneless leg of lamb (see Note), cut into 1-inch cubes

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme

  • 2 plum tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced


  1. In a small bowl, whisk the wine with the lemon juice, berbere, paprika, and mustard.

  2. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add half of the lamb to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a medium bowl. Repeat with the remaining lamb.

  3. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 8 minutes.

  4. Add the lamb and any accumulated juices to the casserole along with the wine mixture, tomatoes, bell pepper, and shallot. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the tomatoes and bell pepper have softened and the lamb is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead

This stew can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently, adding a little water if needed.


The spices used in Ethiopian cooking, such as ajwain, nigella seeds, and berbere, are available from Kalustyan's and Nirmala's Kitchen.

Suggested Pairing

Peppery, olive-scented, medium-bodied Côtes du Rhône.

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