I’ve loved Ethiopian food since I first had it on a visit to Washington, DC, years ago. Ever since then, I’ve looked for Ethiopian restaurants every place I’ve traveled because I never seem to be fortunate enough to live in a place that has one. The closest one to me now is about 3 1/2 hours away in Memphis, Tennessee. When I found that little restaurant, Memphis’s appeal went up considerably!
Since I can’t travel just in order to eat (though I can hardly think of a better reason!), I’ve managed to learn to make some passable Ethiopian-style dishes. Normally, Ethiopian food is served on and with a flat-bread called injera that is unlike any other bread I know. It’s flat, but it’s soft and spongy, not dense like a chapati or a tortilla. The food is served on top of one large injera, while additional injera is eaten with the food. You tear off a piece of injera and use it to pick up and eat a bite of food. It’s brilliant! No utensils to wash!
Making injera at home is time-consuming, but it can be done. On run-of-the-mill nights I almost never go to the trouble. I rarely eat bread and prefer to stick to whole grains, so I serve Berberé Stew, a spicy lentil stew, over brown rice. The seasoning is rich with cinnamon, cloves, and nine other spices. I make up a big batch of the spice mix and keep it on hand to make this quick-cooking dish. It’s simple, but it’s one of my favorite recipes.
Last night I made a new dish to go along with the Berberé Stew. I had fresh green beans, so I decided on Ethiopian Green Beans and Potatoes. I made the recipe mostly as written, but I used 12 ounces of green beans instead of 8 and increased the seasonings a little to compensate. This was a much less spicy dish than the lentils, but its mildness was a good complement. It wasn’t an exciting dish, but I’d have it again.
Now to start planning my next trip . . . .
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