Beso Bela is a variety of Holy Basil (tulsi) that grows wild in Ethiopia. Its purple flowers and leaves are sundried, then sometimes toasted before being ground. Beso Bela is a distinct herb, but does have some flavors in common with dried basil, like its fresh and fruity side, along with a hint of berries.
Its used in countless dishes in Ethiopia, not unlike oregano or basil in Europe. Its one of the essential ingredients in Ethiopian spiced butter (niter kibbeh), which is used all over Ethiopia. It’s also found in certain Berber spice blends. Ethiopians also use Beso Bela in rubs for grilling and in tomato sauce.