By Marcus Samuelsson |

Kitfo is the ultimate celebration dish in Ethiopia. The spiced raw beef was an important part of my wedding feast, but it is also serves after a long vegetable fast. It can be refined, as it is here, but at its simplest, kitfo is simply chunks of raw beef dipped in the spicy dip called awase. We've served several versions of kitfo at Rooster. This one reminds me a little of the English bookmaker sandwich—the one made with roast beef, mustard, and horseradish.

You can use the awase as a dip for vegetables, as a sauce for grilled fish, or as a rub for rack of lamb (see page 216 in The Red Rooster Cookbook).

Prep Details

Servings: Serves 4-6



 3 ounces trimmed beef kidney or beef heart, cut in ⅓-inch slices

2 cups water

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Coarse kosher salt

2 tablespoons Spiced Butter 

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 shallots, minced

1 jalapeño chile, minced

1 tablespoon berbere 

1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne

1 teaspoon Chinese mustard

1 pound beef tenderloin, diced


FOR THE AWASE (makes about ½ cup):

3 tablespoons berbere

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon horseradish (preferably freshly grated)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


Juice of 1 lemon


Whole wheat bread, toasted


Photo by Bobby Fisher

Photo by Bobby Fisher



  1. Put the beef kidney in a small bowl with the water, distilled vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Drain and dry it well with paper towels. If you’re using beef heart, you only need to  salt it and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  2. Cook the spiced butter, garlic, shallot, and jalapeño in a skillet over medium heat until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.

  3. Return the skillet to high heat. When it’s hot, sear the kidney or heart for 30 seconds on each side. Dice and add to the bowl with the vegetables.

  4. Stir in the berbere, cayenne, and mustard. Toss in the tenderloin, mixing well. Taste and season with salt.


  1. Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

  2. Put out the bowl of kitfo, the awase, and a stack of toasts. Rip off pieces of toast, pile with kitfo, and dip in the awase.