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Kitfo consists of minced raw beef, marinated in mitmita (a chili powder-based spice blend) and niter kibbeh (a clarified butter infused with herbs and spices). The word comes from the Ethio-Semitic root k-t-f, meaning "to chop finely; mince."
Kitfo cooked lightly rare is known as kitfo leb leb. Kitfo is often served alongside—sometimes mixed with—a mild cheese called ayibe or cooked greens known as gomen. In many parts of Ethiopia, kitfo is served with injera, a flatbread made from teff, although in traditional Gurage cuisine, one would use kocho, a thick flatbread made from the ensete plant. An ensete leaf may be used as a garnish. Though not considered a delicacy, kitfo is generally held in high regard.