Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Journey to Ethiopia

Ever since my first taste of Ethiopian, I've wanted to try and recreate it.   Eaten with your hands, a spongy, sourdough flatbread (injera) is used to scoop up tasty dishes that get piled on top of it.   Beware...  monster post below ;)

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With some willing subjects in tow, I decided on several dishes...  doro wot (chicken stew), yekik alicha (split peas), atakilt (potato/carrot/green bean) and chickpea wot.    Yes, too much food for one meal!    Due to someone's dislike of alliums, I prepped all of the onions ahead of time and added them to completed dishes after reserving an onion-free portion.  My big fail for the evening was injera.   Barely edible, it's definitely something I need to try again.

I can't believe I'm showing this photo...  excuse my appearance, I was still sick ;)

It all starts with Berbere, a spicy mix that many recipes called for equal parts paprika and cayenne.  Yeah, I've definitely improved my spice tolerance, but I knew there was no way I could handle that.   Here's what I cobbled together...  I don't recall things being that spicy, just flavorful, but perhaps they had dumbed things down for American taste buds?    Feel free to play around with this mixture!!  I'm thinking maybe I'd cut back on the cayenne and add in more of a different (less potent) ground chile powder.

Berbere Spice Blend
Yield:  ~1/2c

1/4c paprika
1T smoked paprika
2T cayenne powder
2t salt
1t ginger
1/2t freshly ground cardamom
1/4t garlic powder
1/2t ground nutmeg
1/8t cinnamon
1/8t allspice
1/8t cloves
1/t ground fenugreek seeds

Combine all spices and mix well.  Use cautiously, start with less than the recipe calls for and adjust from there!

And the rest of the recipes...  I used this recipe for Atakilt.  I used 2t of my berbere, which was a bit too much for me but enjoyed by others ;)

Doro Wot
Doro Wot/Wat/Wet/We't (etc...)
Serves 4-6

1T butter
1 lg garlic clove (or 2 smaller ones), minced/pressed
2" knob of ginger, grated
1/4t freshly ground cardamom
few grinds of pepper
pinch of numeg
1 clove
1/2t cinnamon
1-3t berbere (see above)
chicken stock
1lb chicken, cut into bite-size pieces (1" cubes or so)
4-5 hard boiled eggs

Melt butter in a medium dutch oven over medium-low heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until they turn golden brown.   Add garlic, ginger and rest of spices (cardamom through berbere).  Cook until the onions soften and take on the color of the spices.

Add chicken and enough chicken stock to cover the chicken.  Bring to a simmer and poach chicken for ~15min, until chicken is cooked through.  Use a fork and prick the eggs (don't go all the way through the egg), then add to stew.  Season to taste with salt and keep warm until serving.

Yekik Alicha
Yekik Alicha
adapted from Wasabimon
Serves 6-8

2T olive oil, plus more as needed
2 yellow onions, finely minced
2 tomatoes, chopped fine
2T tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced/pressed
3" knob of ginger, grated
4-6c warm/hot water
1lb yellow split peas
2t tumeric
1t berbere
1/4t black pepper
1t cardamom
salt to taste

Rinse split peas in warm water, drain and set aside.

In a medium-large dutch oven (or other heavy-bottomed pot), heat 1-2T olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add tomatoes and garlic and cook for 5min, adding more oil if they begin to stick or brown/burn.  Add ginger and cook for 5more min, again adding more oil if becomes too dry.

Add the rest of the spices (tumeric through cardamom), split peas and enough water to cover the split peas.  Cook for 20min (I think mine took 30-40min), adding more water as needed.  The goal is not to make a soup, but enough water to cook the split peas.   Cook until split peas are tender, salt to taste.  Let cool before serving.

Chickpea Wot (don't mind all the peas on top...  i forgot to add them earlier!) 

Chickpea Wot
Serves 4-6

2T olive oil
1 lg red onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 potato, chopped
1t berbere
1T tomato paste
1c chickpeas
1 1/2c water
1c frozen peas, thawed

Heat oven in medium pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened.  Add carrots and potato, cover and cook for 10min, until softened.  Add berbere and tomato sauce, stirring until well inocrporated.  Add chickpeas and water, cover and bring to a simmer.  Simmer until water has evaporated (veggies should be tender, if not add more water).  Add peas and cook a few minutes more.  Salt to taste, cool and serve.

My plate...  Elina's plate

I think things turned out pretty well, my favorite being the chickpea wot (although I'd add more chickpeas next time!).   Like I said, I need to try the injera again so I'll be making the journey to Ethiopia again :)

Action shot!  Thanks Elina...  apologies for showing you my armpit :)

Have you tried Ethiopian cuisine?  Any good injera recipes out there??


Faith @ lovelyascharged said...

You know, I'm a huge fan of ethnic foods but I've never gotten the opportunity to try Ethiopian. My bad for living in such a small town, I guess!

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

Oh my - yes Ethiopian food is one of my all time favourites! We actually have a restaurant not too far from our house! Note to self - must visit again soon!

sophia said...

I've tried itself. Bad idea. Not a nice thing to eat by's so sour! I wish I knew how to pronounce all these wonderful food though!

Lauren said...

So sorry I missed out on this... I'm impressed with the spread you made!

I've never had Ethiopian food before, but the spices used in your dishes are flavors I love. I'm especially drawn to cinnamon in savory dishes - sounds delicious!

There are two ethnic restaurants within 1 minute of our new apartment: Indian and Thai. I must scope out an Ethiopian one next ;).

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I've never tried Ethiopian food but from what it looks like...I think I'd enjoy it!

Ricki said...

Ethiopian is one of my all-time favorite cuisines! I must admit I've never made real injera, either. . . too scary ;) Yours LOOKS good, anyway! And the chickpea wot--> w00t!!!

vanillasugarblog said...

wow you created all this in your kitchen? that's a lot of cooking. amazing! you should be proud girl! i don't know if i could pull all this off

Natalie said...

I'm so impressed-this was quite a feast! I haven't tried Ethiopian yet but I always hear people raving about it so it's on my list!!

Joanne said...

I'm convinced that Ethiopian food makes my life better. It's all just so tasty! I'm sorry the injera didn't work out but it seems like everything else was a serious hit!

Diana said...

Funny, I just tried Ethiopian for the first time this week! Loved it. I had actually considered taking a stab at homemade injera myself, but then figured I ought to taste the pro version first, durrrr. Everything was so delicious--I don't know if I'll be trying much of it homemade, but it's definitely a treat for a restaurant meal!

Anonymous said...

I love this post! Way to go for giving all these recipes a shot! I'm impressed :)


Erica said...

Very cool. I've never had Ethiopian food before. The Doro Wot/Wat/Wet/We't looks incredible.

You are so sweet to remember about Josh's ankle! It heeled GREAT! Hes back in the gym and increasing his level of activity all the time. Thank you so much :)

We Are Not Martha said...

Shannon, I'm so impressed!! Everything looks awesome! I love Ethiopian food, but have never made my own. I do love Addis Red Sea in the South End and in Porter. Now you've tempted me to try my own, though :)


Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

This was so fun! I totally want to try Ethiopian food in a restaurant now :)
PS - Glad a few of my pics came through. I actually love the one of you with the spatula. You look like you're on a mission. lol

Beth said...

I haven't tried Ethiopian cuisine, but you make it sound so good. Thanks for all the ideas!

Biz said...

Love that you took on so many dishes - and for an onion hater - glad that you were able to accommodate your guest!

I've never tried Ethiopian food, but I am definitely going to make that spicy sauce.

Great job Shannon - and hope you are feeling better! :D

Kerstin said...

Mmm, this was such a yummy feast! Wish I had some of those leftovers right about now ;) Such cute pics too!

Janetha @ meals + moves said...

I have been wishing for an Ethiopian restaurant for ages. Maybe I should make my own! This looks awesome.

Dewi said...

Yes I have Shannon. In fact, it's one of my favorite dish as well.

Lovely to see you that you seem to have so much fun in the kitchen :)

Jess said...

I love Ethiopian food but it never occurred to me to try making it. You make it look easy!

Rosiecat24 said...

Shannon, this is extraordinary! Wow! Ethiopian food is so delicious. I've had two great meals with friends, and eating Ethiopian food, squishing all those tidbits into pieces of injera, was a lot of fun. I love what they do with lentils and chickpeas, and I want to try your chickpea dish. Though I'll probably eat it over rice...because I'm lazy! And I love rice :-)

Alisa said...

Simply amazing Shannon! And your spice mix sounds more my speed. I'll pass on the cayenne boost.

michellepc said...

I've been dying to try Ethiopian food - but make it? That's a very admirable feat!

Unknown said...

Ha ha ha . .you are too funny. Love the pics of you. I've only had Ethiopian at restaurants, not at home!

stephen said...

I haven't tried Ethiopian food. But I am pretty excited to have it soon. I guess I'll enjoy it:)coter

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