Zigni is considered to be the national dish of Eritrea although it also popular in Ethiopia where it is called kai wat. Zigni is basically a beef stew that is often served with pasta. The Italians were the ones that colonized Eritrea and this dish is a clear influence. Zigni does however have the signature seasoning of onion and berbere so well-known in the region. A beautiful fusion of flavor.
I served it over injera, a lovely sour spongy flat bread, as part of our International Cuisine meal and saved the leftovers to enjoy over pasta. Excellent!
Did you know that Eritrea has no official language? Also the captial city of Asmara is also known as “Italy’s African city” or “New Rome”. If you would like to learn more be sure to check out “Our Journey to Ethiopia and Eritrea” .There you will also find more delicious and authentic recipes to go with the national dish of Zigni.
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Zigni (Beef Stew)
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2.5 lbs. beef cubed
- 2 onions diced finely
- 4 sweet peppers very finely diced (red or yellow bells)
- 4 tomatoes very finely diced
- 2 Tablespoons garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable seasoning salt like vegeta
- 1 Tablespoon turmeric
- 3 Tablespoons Berbere seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 can 8 oz tomato paste
- 1/2 cup ghee or nitter kibbeh
- In a large pot heat up the oil and add in the beef, cook a few minutes until browned and add in the onions. Cook together just a couple of minutes and add in all the other ingredients except for the berbere, ghee or nitter kibbeh, and minced garlic. Stir everything together and cook covered on medium heat for two hours.
- Add in the berbere seasoning, ghee or nitter kibbeh and minced garlic, stir, cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve warm over pasta or injera.