Ethiopian Pasta

I’m sure it has a proper name, but I don’t know it.  A recipe I first learned in Yemen, and it has been a family supper standby for years and years.


  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (or more, to taste)
  • 2-3 small, hot chillis (or more, to taste)
  • salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried thyme (or rosemary, or other dried herbs)
  • 1 large green pepper (or a good handful of spinach leaves)
  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes
  • 2-3 eggs
  • bunch of parsley or coriander leaves


  • Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, and cook enough spaghetti for four people.
  • Chop the onion finely, and sauté very gently in the oil.
  • When the onion is soft and translucent, but not coloured, add the garlic (finely chopped); chillis (also finely chopped; remove seeds if you wish, but it’s surprising just how much chilli this dish can take without being overpowering); salt; a generous grind of black pepper; and the thyme. And turn the heat off. The additions will just get warm, and flavour the oil.
  • Dice the green pepper quite small (or chop the spinach), cut the tomatoes into wedges, and chop the parsley or coriander leaves, ready to add at the last moment.
  • When the spaghetti is cooked “al dente”, drain it (not too thoroughly, a little water will help bind the dish), and return to the saucepan. Add the onion, chilli, and oil, and make sure the spaghetti is well coated.
  • Break the eggs into the spaghetti, and stir round to break them up. Adjust the seasoning, if needed – I usually have to add some salt. I like to let the eggs just cook in the residual heat of the pasta, but you may prefer to keep a gentle heat on under the pan. Add the remaining vegetables and leaves, swirl round to mix and warm slightly – and serve.

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