Chefs' Recipes

Saba Alemayoh's derek tibs (Ethiopian beef short ribs with capsicum)

Ribs, slowly braised with berbere spice, with the gentle sweetness of capsicums – there's nothing better.

By Saba Alemayoh
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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"Ethiopians are serious about their meat," says Alemayoh of Saba's Ethiopian in Melbourne. "This comes from the fact that many go vegan for a great part the year for religious practice. There are restaurants that specialise in making this dish and nothing else."


  • 1 tbsp neutral oil, such as sunflower, plus extra
  • 3 beef short ribs, cut into 5-6cm pieces
  • 5 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 tsp berbere (see note)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 red capsicums, thinly sliced
  • 2 long green chillies (optional), coarsely chopped


  • 1
    Heat oil in a deep saucepan over high heat, then add beef and turn occasionally for the fat to render and beef to brown (5-7 minutes). Reserve beef fat, then add rosemary and berbere to pan, season with salt and stir to combine. Return beef to the pan, add ½ cup water, then cover and simmer very gently over low heat (2-2½ hours).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, combine beef fat with enough oil to make up to 2 tbsp and place over medium heat in a separate saucepan. Add onion, capsicum and chilli and stir over high heat until softened slightly (3-4 minutes). Add meat and cooking juices, cook until juices are reduced to a sauce (4-6 minutes). Serve scattered with chilli (optional).


Berbere is an Ethiopian spice mix. It's available from specialist spice shops, or online from