Sunday, January 28, 2007

Eating Ethiopian Style

Last night our family got together with some other families that are also adopting from Ethiopia to cook an Ethiopian meal. The preparation started the day before when a few of the ladies went to a local Ethiopian market to buy spices and injera. The menu consisted of Doro Wat (chicken stew), Vegetable Alecha, Kae Misr Wat (Red Lentil Stew) and Iab (a lemon-flavored cheese and yogurt mixture)--all served up on fresh injera. Another friend prepared some curry chicken with an African influence from her mother-in-law. It was all very yummy! We did have a backup plan for the kids -- good ol' American pizza!

The whole house is taking on the smells of Ethiopia, as the spices are very aromatic! A primary spice included in a lot of the Ethiopian dishes is called berbere. It is extremely HOT and must be used carefully to protect our uninitiated palates. Other spices common to the foods we prepared are cardamom, caraway seed, ginger, garlic, paprika and nutmeg.

Injera is the primary bread eaten with an Ethiopian meal. It is made from a grain grown primarily in Ethiopia called teff. Injera resembles an over-sized crepe (but medium brown colored) filled with lots of little "eyes" or holes made from bubbles that form while it cooks. A large flat griddle is used to cook the batter into a 15-20 inch circle. The sour-tasting injera is placed onto a platter and the various stews are dished onto the middle of the platter. Those enjoying the meal together each have their own piece of injera and tear off smaller pieces to scoop food out of the common dish.

With a special new griddle one friend made an attempt to cook her own injera. More practice will surely perfect the special technique!

If you're feeling adventurous and want to try something, the Doro Wat is a classic. The berbere is a necessary ingredient – you can find it at your local Ethiopian market. Here's a recipe:

Doro Wat
3 1b chicken (I used boneless, skinless)
2 c. onions, chopped
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. lemon juice
salt to taste
2 t. fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 t. Fenugreek
1/2 t. cardamom
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 c. butter or niter kebbeh
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/4 c. Berbera sauce
2 T. paprika
4 hard-boiled eggs

Cut chicken into serving pieces and pat dry. Combine onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom, nutmeg and butter in a saucepan. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Add the water, wine, berbere sauce and paprika. Cook briskly for 3-5 minutes or until sauce is the consistency of cream. Add the chicken. Cover tightly and simmer 15 minutes. Pierce eggs with the tines of a fork and add to the pan. Cover and cook 15 minutes more, or until chicken is tender.


brentandkris said...

Okay, I am new at this commenting. I love the photo with R. Hope your time was great! You may reverse my enteries if you like.

CrazyD said...

No need to reverse your entries, but I did adjust the template so it is easier to tell which comments go with which posts.