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Zilzil Alecha (beef in Green Pepper Sauce) Ethiopia

Updated June 14, 2018


  • 3 medium green bell peppers
  • 4 teaspoons serrano chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry red or white wine
  • 1/2 cup butter or niter kebbeh


Coarsely chop 2 of the bell peppers. Combine these with the next 8 ingredients (chiles through wine) in a blender. Process until the mixture is a smooth puree. Cut the remaining bell pepper into 2" x 1/2" strips. Set aside. Trim meat of all fat and slice 1/2" thick. Cut slices into strips 2" long by 1/4" wide. Heat 1/2 cup butter or niter kebbeh in a heavy 10" x 12" skillet, until a drop of water dances. Brown meat in the skillet, a little at a time and turning often, until the meat is browned evenly without burning. Transfer meat to a plate as it is browned. When all meat is browned, pour remaining fat into a measuring cup. Add enough additional butter or niter kebbeh, to measure 1/2 cup. Set aside. Wash and dry the skillet. Add the onions and cook them over low heat until soft and dry, about 5 minutes. Stir the onions continuously to keep them from burning. Pour in the 1/2 cup cooking fat. When it begins to sputter, add the green pepper strips. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously, until the pepper strips are soft. Add the pureed green pepper mixture. While stirring, heat to a boil. Add beef strips and any liquid accumulated on the plate to the skillet. Stir into the sauce to coat meat evenly. Reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer until the meat is cooked to taste.

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