We are going to Ethiopia tonight to indulge in rich and aromatic flavours, that will whisk you away to the sights and sounds of Africa! A typical dish would consist of injera (a sour dough-like roti), served with a spicy stew that includes lamb, beef, vegetables, and various types of legumes. Many Ethiopians from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths, do not partake in pork or shellfish for religious reasons. This is why meats are limited to chicken, beef and lamb.
Some of the spices that are used in traditional dishes are as follows:
Berbere (Amharic: በርበሬ bärbäre, Tigrinya: በርበረ bärbärä) is a spice mixture whose constituent elements usually include chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella, and fenugreek.[ It is a key ingredient in the cuisines of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Mitmita (Amharic: ሚጥሚጣ, IPA: [mitʼmitʼa]) is a powdered seasoning mix used in Ethiopian cuisine. It is orange-red in color and contains ground birdseye chili peppers (piri piri), cardamom seed, cloves and salt. It occasionally has other spices including cinnamon, cumin and ginger.
*Information on spices taken from Wikipedia
Here is a recipe to try this week that is simple, and filled with nutritional goodness:
Spicy Ethiopian Lentil Stew
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 1-2 tbsp. berbere spice blend, to taste, I went with 2 tablespoons but I like lots of spice
- 1/2-1 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups dried split red lentils
- 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 3 medium red potatoes, about 3/4 lb. total, diced
- 3 cups fresh spinach leaves, sliced and lightly packed
- salt and pepper to taste
Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, berbere spice and cayenne and sauté 1 minute more.
Add broth, lentils, tomatoes and potatoes. Stir a few times, raise heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to cook until lentils are very soft and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in spinach and continue to cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a bit more berbere and cayenne, if desired.
*Recipe taken from http://www.connoisseurusveg.com
Injera, ənǧära እንጀራ [ɨndʒəra],(Oromo): Biddena; is a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture, traditionally made out of teff flour. It is the national dish of Ethiopia and Eritrea.  It is central to the dining process in those cultures as bread is the most fundamental component of any Ethiopian or Eritrean meal.
*Information taken from Wikipedia
If you can find a local Ethiopian restaurant or grocery store, it would be beneficial to look for “injera” to serve with your stew. I read that it is an excellent source of iron, which is good for those who have iron deficiencies. When we find super foods that are packed with rich vitamins and minerals, it is important to make them a major part of our everyday diet. Your body will thank you for the “real deal!”
Enjoy your trip to the motherland, and be open to the new flavours that you will experience. For vegetarians, this dish must not be a secret to you! Go ahead and indulge. Happy Tuesday everyone!