Zigni, a savoury and aromatic Eritrean and Ethiopian stew, stands as a testament to the rich culinary traditions of the region. This hearty dish is renowned for its bold flavors and captivating aroma, a true representation of East African cuisine.

Zigni features tender pieces of meat, often beef or lamb, simmered in a vibrant tomato-based sauce that’s elevated by an array of spices such as berbere and cumin. This combination of ingredients results in a dish that’s both deeply satisfying and pleasantly complex. Typically served with injera, a spongy flatbread, Zigni offers a wonderful balance of heat and robustness, inviting food enthusiasts to explore the flavors of Eritrea and Ethiopia with every delightful bite.

We got the inspiration for this recipe here. Here’s a modified recipe that includes boiled eggs:


  • 500g beef or lamb, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbsp niter kibbeh (spiced clarified butter)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp berbere spice blend
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 500ml beef or vegetable broth
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Injera bread or rice, for serving


Rub the beef cubes with the berbere spice and let it marinade for a couple of hours or overnight.

Heat the niter kibbeh in a large pot over medium heat.

Add the beef or lamb cubes to the pot and cook until they are browned on all sides. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set it aside.

In the same pot, add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until the onions become soft and translucent.

Pour in the broth and scrape all the sticky bits from the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the tomato paste and add the meat. Give everything a good stir.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 1 to 1½ hours, or until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded together.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Serve the Zigni stew with the boiled eggs, hot with injera bread or rice on the side.

By adding boiled eggs, you’ll introduce a different texture and flavor element to the dish. It’s a personal preference, and it can be a delightful addition to the Zigni stew. Enjoy!

The wine

We enjoyed this with a 2020 Piekenierskloof Grenache Noir which has the following accolades:

  • Decanter World Wine Awards – 89 points
  • Michelangelo – Gold
  • Prescient Minority Report – Top 10
  • Sommeliers selection Wine list
  • Tim Atkin – 90 points

Here are the tasting notes for the 2021 vintage:

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