Monday, November 8, 2010

Ethiopian Feast



 

Happy MoFo Week 2, guys!

Do you like Ethiopian food? I first ate it several years ago in Philly. I remember being a little wary of scooping up the lentils and veggies with nothing but my fingers and some weird spongy bread. No utensils?  But of course it was awesome! I made it a point to eat Ethiopian food whenever I could find it from then on. However, where I live now, there's no Ethiopian restaurant nearby. After eating it in Montreal last month, I vowed to learn how to make it myself so I wouldn't have to wait until my next vacation to have it again!

First, I tried making "traditional" injera. Injera is the light, crepe-like bread that you tear into pieces and use in place of utensils to pick up the food and transfer it to your mouth. It tastes like sourdough. The way I understand it, in Ethiopia, injera is made from only teff flour and water, with a little salt added. It is fermented for at least 24 hours and up to three days. I found a recipe, mixed up the batter, and left it sitting out on my counter. The next day, my kitchen smelled like gym socks and I wasn't sure if that was good or bad, so I went ahead and made the injera. It was really flat, not puffy like the kind I've had in restaurants. It also had a strong nutty, fermented taste. There was no way anyone in my house was going to eat this injera.

Luckily I had a backup plan -- the injera recipe from Vegan Lunch Box. This sounded more like the bread that is served in Ethiopian restaurants in the U.S. -- softer and fluffier, with a mild flavor. This recipe worked perfectly -- no fermentation necessary! I couldn't believe how easy it was.





The greens were my favorite -- very garlicky and gingery. The lentils were savory and spicy, and the cabbage stew was mild and buttery. I think that's why I like Ethiopian food, because each dish seems to complement the others and there's a nice variety of flavors.



The feast took about two hours to prepare. There were a ton of veggies to chop, and also, I only have one big pot, so I had to wait for the lentils to get done before I could make the cabbage stew. I didn't mind since I had my little entertainer with me. Check out his drum solo.

video

If you like Ethiopian food or even if you've never had it before, I encourage you to try the recipes linked above, because they are good ones and not hard to prepare. You'll be surprised how much it tastes like restaurant food, or at least, I was!

15 comments:

  1. Amazing! Everything looks so delicious. I LOVE to cook Ethiopian, but I have yet to be brave enough to attempt my own injera -- we've just stuck with plain rice. I've gotta try that recipe for gomen.
    Have you seen Kittee's recipe for vegan niter kibbeh? I have it on hand at all times.

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  2. I love Ethiopian food, and because of allergies I always have to make it at home--but I've never been brave enough to try injera! Yours looks great!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this! We love Ethiopian food and are just getting into cooking it. The Ethiopian cafe near us sells berebere and injera-- so we can cheat a little. ;)

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  4. Ooh I love Ethiopian food!! Your injera looks yummy! Well, the whole meal looks yummy actually.

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  5. Yum! One of my favorite cuisines! Everything looks so tasty!

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  6. Great job! I love that injera recipe; I used it a few months ago and it worked out great.

    Now I'm totally in the mood for Ethiopian food. We have a great restaurant here in Columbus, but I haven't been there in years and not since becoming vegan. I'm not sure how much of their vegetarian menu is actually vegan. I should go find out!

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  7. I am such a lentil freak - those spicy red lentils look delicious!

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  8. Yummy yumz! Injera is a tricky one. I've completely given up on trying to make the actual stuff. Now, I just do a Teff starter and add it to the whole wheat crepes from Vegan Brunch. It's pretty good!

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  9. Looks fabulous and I have Vegan Lunchbox so yay!

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  10. I've never tried but people always tell me how good it is. I really need to try a dish..your food looks very yummy!

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  11. I LOVE Ethiopian food! I even took my brother once and he was so confused on what everything was that he thought the veggies were the meat. I told him: See! you dont *have* to eat the meat now! :p

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  12. I love Ethiopian food - and it's quite easy to get here in NYC for pretty cheap. I've always wanted to try making it though - and I've seen those recipes for Teff flour and had no idea where to find it. Maybe now I can learn from your expirements and finally make it! What is the recipe you ended up using for Injera? I am not sure where to look...

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  13. I've really wanted to try some injera now that I have some teff flour. I wanted to ferment it too. Now I'm scared. But I can't eat wheat and most americanized recipes have that in it.

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