Ethiopian Beef in Pepper Sauce (Zilzil Alecha)

Finger Hot is the commercial name for this asian-type pepper that is actually very similar to fresh cayenne and can be used in any recipe to add heat without changing the flavor. It is a good chile to chop and use in stir fry.

They are thin-walled and measure about 1/2″ wide and 5″ to 8″ long. These chiles also dry very nicely.

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2 medium red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 medium red pepper, cut into 1/2
2 finger hot chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 pounds boneless beef sirloin or top round
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. chopped ginger root
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped


Trim the fat away from the beef and cut the beef across the grain into 1-1/2″ x 1/2″ strips.

Place the chopped peppers, jalapeno chiles, garlic, wine, ginger root, salt, turmeric and cardamom in a blender and cover. Pulse blend on medium-high speed, stopping the blender occasionally to scrape off the sides — about 45 seconds.

Heat the butter and oil in a 12″ skillet until hot. Cook and stir the beef over medium-high heat until all the liquid from the beef is evaporated and it is brown — about 15 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.

Cook and stir the onions and pepper strips in the remaining oil mixture over medium heat until tender. Now add blended pepper mixture with the reserved beef. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beef is hot and the sauce has thickened — about 10 minutes. Serve with basmati rice and flat bread.

Yields 8 servings.

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