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Tastes & Travels

Halibut Tibs

Tibs is the name of a category of Ethiopian dishes that are part stir-fry, part stew. Often made with beef or lamb, I make this version with halibut to lighten it up a bit. If you can’t get halibut, use another firm meaty fish like swordfish, mahi mahi or turbot. With berbere spice mix as the base, my version of tibs is flavorful, warm and spicy and comes together quickly, making it a great addition to your weeknight dinner line up. Serve this with rice or bread or better yet, with injera, the essential fermented flatbread of Ethiopia.

Halibut Tibs

Serves 4

  • 1 pound skinless halibut fillet, cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • 2 tablespoons Berbere spice mix (recipe follows) 
  • Kosher salt 
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons ghee 
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1 inch chunks 
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped 
  • 1 fresh medium jalapeno, finely chopped (leave the seeds in for the most heat), plus sliced  jalapeno for garnish 
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine 
  • Injera, for serving 
  • Lemon wedges, for serving 
  1. Toss the halibut in a large bowl with the Berbere and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and ghee. When hot, add the  cubed halibut and sear, tossing occasionally, until well-browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a  plate. (The fish doesn’t have to be completely cooked through at this point - it will cook more in  the sauce) 
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-high. In the same skillet, add the red onion and cook, tossing  occasionally, until browned on the edges but still crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic  and chopped jalapeno and cook until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and  cook until they begin to break down, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and cook  until thick and saucy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the halibut back to the sauce, gently toss and simmer  until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. 
  4. Serve topped with more jalapenos, plus injera and lemon wedges. 


Berbere Spice Blend

Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 1/4 cup ground New Mexico chile 
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  1. Combine all of the spices in a small skillet.
  2. Toast over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until  fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Let cool completely.

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