Shiro Wat – Humus

Shiro Wat is a spicy Ethiopian chickpea dish served as one of a number of dishes with injera (Ethiopian pancake). It also makes a very tasty dip, an alternative to ‘normal’ humus.

This is a simply prepared combination of onion, Berber (Ethiopian spice mix) and shiro (also known as chickpea flour or besan). I first ate shiro when visiting Ethiopia earlier this year and I liked it so much that it is now a staple in my house. It accompanies salads, is served as part of Ethiopian meals I regularly prepare and it makes a delicious dip at parties.

Tinned chickpeas are usually acceptable for Fodmap diets because the heat and pressure of cooking makes the peas more digestible. It may therefore be that small quantities of shiro wat are also fine for some individuals on a Fodmap diet because the chickpea flour, which gives a very smooth texture to the finished dish, has been processed, though I cannot vouchsafe for the appropriateness of the process of all brands of this flour.

Diets for which Berber – spice mix is suitable:

Diabetic, Diary Free, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Nut Free, Vegetarian and Vegan.


Preparation: 10 mins | Cooking: 20 mins | Serves: 1 cup+

2 medium onions
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp Berber (Ethiopian spice mix)
1/2 – 1 tsp chilli*
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped**
1/2 cup chickpea flour (Shiro powder, besan)
1.5 to 2 cups water


PEEL and cut the onion roughly.
PURÉE onion in a blender with water until it is like a thick ‘mush’.
COOK the onion in a saucepan until most of the water has evaporated and small bits are becoming lightly brown.
ADD oil and the Berber spice and chilli and cook for 1 minute.
ADD the tomato. (Before the next step have the water measured and at hand.)
ADD the Shiro (chickpea flour) stirring as it thickens.
ADD 1 cup water as the mixture thickens.
ADD more water slowly to the consistency and texture you want.


– Withinjera, Ethiopian pancake, and other dishes.
– Accompanying a salad.
– As a dip with pitta bread.


* Adjust chilli according to your taste. 1 tsp chilli/1 tbsp berber is quite hot.
** Use fresh or tinned tomatoes of 2 tbsp tomato paste

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