What is Niter Kibbeh?
What is Niter Kibbeh?

What is Niter Kibbeh?

What is niter kibbeh? I first discovered this amazing secret ingredient whilst dining in an African Restaurant in Coffs Harbour. The chef is a fabulous man, he introduced me niter kibbeh. Joel actually sent me home from that meal with a takeaway container of the beautiful gold liquid.

Spices for Niter Kibbeh

Spices for Niter Kibbeh

Niter Kibbeh is a spice infused, clarified butter. The recipe I have is an infusion of 13 ingredient in butter. The spices give the liquid an unimaginable flavour. Once you reduce the ingredients down the butter no longer tastes like butter, it takes on a deep curry aroma and flavour.

Nitter Kibeh Butter

Nitter Kibeh Butter

Making clarified butter requires a low and slow cooking process. My oven was set at 95 degrees celsius for 12 hours to allow the flavours to meld together. After 12 or so hours the niter kibbeh is ready for straining. You can continue to cook the oily stock down further but I was impatient. After so many hours of smelling the deliciously, rich curry aroma I wanted to sample the end product.


Niter Kibbeh Stock

Niter Kibbeh Stock

If you choose to allow the butter to cook down further, the caramelisation of the onions, fennel and garlic adds an even deeper sweeter nutty flavour.

Are you wondering how to use niter kibbeh in cooking?  Nitter Kibbeh is used in place of regular oil in cooking. Using the infused butter allows you to get an amazing depth of flavour into even the most simplest of dishes.

Niter Kibbeh Spiced Butter

Niter Kibbeh Spiced Butter

The first thing I did with my newly produced nicer was to slather some fresh naan bread in the rich oil. I had made the naan bread for a guest post so I had to be careful not to eat them all before they were photographed!

Naan Bread with Niter Kibbeh

Naan Bread with Niter Kibbeh

My husband came home as I was sampling a naan with the nitter kibbeh. Eight naan breads were reduced to three in the blink of an eye! I had to cut him off so I could takes some photos!

Stuffed Garlic Naan

Stuffed Garlic Naan

The recipe I’m sharing today is courtesy of Joel McCulla. The wonderful chef who first introduced me to this ingredient. The recipe Joel gave me yielded a commercial quantity of niter kibbeh. I’ve cut the recipe by half, but once you try it you may want to double it again!

Niter Kibbeh?


  • 1 large brown onion
  • 1 1/2 whole heads garlic
  • 1 small fennel
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tbs fenugreek leaves
  • 5 strands saffron
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1/2 tbs black peppercorn
  • 2kgs butter


  1. Without peeling, roughy chop the onion and garlic.
  2. Place into a baking tray.
  3. Add the chopped fennel and all the spices.
  4. Add the butter to the tray.
  5. Place the tray in the oven and turn the temperature to 90 degrees.
  6. Once the butter has melted check that all of the ingredients are under the butter.
  7. You need the oil to seal the flavour in as the ingredients cook down.
  8. Cook for 12 hour minimum.
  9. Line a large strainer with muslin or cheese cloth.
  10. Strain the ingredients off the clarified butter and store the Niter Kibbeh in the fridge.
  11. Discard the remaining sludge ingredients.

I have since used the butter to grill fish and to cook my morning fried eggs!! YUM! I promise you, the flavour is a revelation!

African Spiced Butter

African Spiced Butter

Thank you so much Joel for sharing your delicious recipe. Those of you who’ve followed Gourmet Getaways for a while might remember Joel as the chef who made the REAL Mouse Burger! Have a read of this!!

So my dear readers, what would you use this butter on? I’m wondering, would dare to fry a mouse in it??

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  1. Oh wow! How delicious. I’ve eaten at that restaurant several times and it’s awesome.

  2. Learn something new and interesting today…love all the spices and bet the butter taste amazingly flavourful.

  3. This sounds all kinds of amazing, Julie! I’m guessing you can use it like oil or ghee? I’m thinking how delicious it would be stirred through some dhal. And those naan look mind blowingly good! YUM!

  4. Wow, what a gift!! I’d love it on your naan, but I can think of so many other ways to use this liquid gold 🙂

  5. Here’s a little secret tip, so it amazing to cook with like you would ghee, but you can then also fold just a little more through at the end of making your curry/sauce to add an extra punch of velvety flavour…. wink wink say no more.

    Okay I will say, use some finely diced fennel along with your onion if you want to bring out the meatier flavours of your dish, fennel, and other anise flavours enhance proteins. ….

    Sheeesh, if I say anymore I would be out of a job…

    Finish with a squeeze of lemon.


  1. […] Niter Kibbeh as the oil of choice. This is not critical, I like the extra depth of flavour the Niter Kibbeh gives the Keema. If you don’t have Niter Kibbeh ordinary cooking can be […]

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