Margarita's International Recipes



Beef and Tomato Stew

Zigni is one of Eritrea's most popular dishes. It's basically stewed meat cooked in tomato sauce and can be served over pasta or with injera bread. Based on the name and the ingredients, I daresay that this dish dates to the Italian colonization of Eritrea, but I don't actually know the history of the dish. As I made it, it tasted like a regular meat stew seasoned with berbere instead of Italian herbs and spices.

It was tasty enough, though not as flavorful as I had wished. Of course, I used MUCH less berbere that the recipe called for, but I don't like spicy food. When you make it, I recommend that you start with a tablespoon of berbere and add more after tasting.



  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 lbs stewing beef, cubed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1-3 Tbsp. berbere
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 28 oz can plum tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tsp beef stock concentrate or beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • cilantro (optional)


Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef cubes and brown on all sides. Turn heat to medium and add the chopped onions. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and berbere and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, making sure nothing burns.

Add the wine and deglace. Add tomatoes, stock concentrate and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature to low and simmer for about two hours. Taste during the cooking and add more berbere if necessary. Once done, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro.

Adapted from a recipe at

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