Berbere (Amharic: በርበሬ berberē, Tigrinya: በርበረ berbere) is a spice mixture, whose ingredients usually include chili peppers, garlic, ginger, dried basil, korarima, rue, white and black pepper and fenugreek. It is a key ingredient in the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Berberé (or Berbere) is an Ethiopian spice mixture that is the flavoring foundation of Ethiopian cuisine, a basic ingredient in Dabo Kolo, Doro Wat, and many other dishes.
Berberé is made from a cupboard-full of herbs and spices, fresh-ground, pan-roasted, and then packed into jars for storage. Among Ethiopian cooks there are many variations of which spices and what amounts. (In the recipe below, ingredients marked “optional” seem to be the least common.) Basic berberé is made by combining roughly equal amounts of allspice, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, and salt with a much larger amount of hot red (cayenne) pepper. The combination of fenugreek and red pepper is essential to berberé; while one or two of the other ingredients may be left out, the fenugreek and red pepper are must-haves. Milder berberé can be made by substituting paprika for some or most of the red pepper. Berberé is sometimes made as a dry spice mix, and is sometimes made with oil or water to form a paste.
Source: Congo Cookbook