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Shimbra Asa

Prep Time:

1 hour

Cook Time:

1 - 2 hours


2-4 as a main



About the Recipe

"Shimbra Asa" translates to 'chickpea fish' in Amharic, capturing the essence of a traditional Ethiopian dish. Despite its name, this recipe features chickpea-based biscuits, affectionately known as "asa," infused with aromatic spices. These biscuits are a labor of love, shaped from a chickpea flour dough, then baked to perfection.

Growing up, Shimbra Asa was a dish reserved for special occasions, reminiscent of the grand celebrations often centered around meat-based dishes. Embracing a plant-based lifestyle, I adapted this cherished tradition, transforming it into a go-to for my own celebrations. It's a beautiful reminder of the diversity within Ethiopian cuisine and the joy of creating plant-based versions that don't compromise on tradition.

In this recipe, the chickpea biscuits serve as a versatile canvas, absorbing the rich flavors of the Ethiopian red stew base. The link to the red stew recipe is provided, along with the option to incorporate Ethiopian spiced butter, adding a layer of complexity to the dish. The result is a symphony of flavors, a plant-based celebration that respects the roots of Ethiopian culinary customs.


For the Chickpea Biscuits

  1. 50ml lukewarm water (initially, with more to be added gradually)

  2. 2 tablespoons oil

  3. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  4. 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

  5. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  6. 1/2 teaspoon korerima

  7. 1.5 to 2 cups chickpea flour

For the Red Stew Base (Refer to Ethiopian Red Stew Base Recipe):

  1. Water

  2. Mekelesha

  3. Ethiopian spiced butter - refer to Ethiopian spiced butter


Chickpea Biscuits:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 50ml of lukewarm water, oil, garlic powder, ginger powder, black pepper, and korerima.

  2. Gradually add chickpea flour to the mixture, stirring continuously to form a dough with a consistency similar to pizza dough.

  3. Adjust the dough by adding more lukewarm water or chickpea flour as needed until you achieve the desired pizza dough-like consistency.

  4. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it becomes cohesive and easy to handle.

  5. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes to allow it to relax and improve its elasticity.

  6. Preheat your oven to 180°C for baking.

  7. Divide the rested dough into equal portions and shape them into biscuits. You can make them round or use creative shapes as desired.

  8. Place the biscuits on a lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven until they turn golden brown.

  9. Once baked, set the chickpea biscuits aside to cool.

Red Stew Base: Refer to Ethiopian Red Stew Base Recipe for detailed instructions. Once the red stew base is ready:

  1. In a separate pot, combine the red stew base, water, and mekelesha.

  2. Add Ethiopian spiced butter (Recipe Here) to the mixture, allowing it to melt and infuse its rich flavors.

  3. Let the sauce simmer until it reaches a rich, flavorful consistency.

Assembling Shimbra Asa:

  1. Gently fold in the cooled chickpea biscuits into the simmering red stew sauce.

  2. Stir the mixture carefully to ensure the biscuits are well-coated with the flavorful sauce.

  3. Allow the assembled Shimbra Asa to simmer for a few additional minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. Turn heat of completely.


  • Shimbra Asa is traditionally served with injera, providing an authentic Ethiopian dining experience alongside other vegetable based dishes.


  • Allowing the chickpea biscuit dough to rest for 10-15 minutes enhances its elasticity, making it easier to handle.

  • Be creative with the shapes of your biscuits to add a personal touch to the Shimbra Asa dish.

  • Avoid adding the biscuits if preparing this dish way in advance, as they may become softer over time when sitting in the sauce.

  • For the red stew base recipe and Ethiopian spiced butter, visit this link and this link, respectively.

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