Épices de Cru Beso Bela


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In a nutshell: A variety of Holy Basil widely used in Ethiopia for flavouring sauces, rubs and grills.

Beso Bela is a variety of Holy Basil (tulsi) that grows wild in Ethiopia. Its purple flowers and leaves are sundried, then sometimes toasted before being ground. Beso Bela is a distinct herb, but does have some flavours in common with dried basil, like its fresh and fruity side, along with a hint of berries.

It is used in countless dishes in Ethiopia, not unlike oregano or basil in Europe. Its one of the essential ingredients in Ethiopian spiced butter (Niter Kibbeh), which is used all over Ethiopia. It’s also found in certain Berber spice blends. Ethiopians also use Beso Bela in rubs for grilling and when making a spicy tomato sauce.

Details 15g

How to use:

  • Shiro is a very popular dish throughout Ethiopia. It’s a paste made of chick pea flour, enhanced by a variety of spices and is served with traditional teff pancakes or injeras. It’s also excellent with pita bread.

About Épices de Cru
Épices de Cru began in 1982 as a catering partnership between Philippe and Ethné de Vienne. Their mission was a kind of “cooking pot anthropology:” learning the secrets of family cooking around the world and applying these techniques to the needs of hungry Montrealers. The secret, they learned, was spices. Over the last two decades, Philippe and Ethné have searched for the world’s best spices, accompanied by their children, Marika and Arik. The de Viennes believe in direct sourcing spices: visiting growing regions, spending time with growers, and developing personal relationships that last decades. In 2004, they officially opened their first spice shop in Montreal’s fantastic Jean Talon market– it’s since become a mecca for foodies from all over the world. I first visited in 2008 and have been buying and using their spices on a regular basis ever since that first exciting visit. They steadfastly maintain that they do nothing original, only facilitating the exchange of culinary common sense from one place to another. But, what they do is simply quite brilliant - by providing us with the finest quality ingredients, and their superb spice mixes, we can all experiment with unusual spices and recreate delicious recipes from around the world.