This week I cooked some dishes inspired by Ethiopia. I don’t think I have ever really read about Ethiopian cuisine before, and so this week I ended up learning a lot. There are so many good websites and blogs with recipes for Ethiopian food that I was spoilt for choice. What became clear is that in a lot of recipes it would be very helpful to have a berbere spice mix, an ethiopian spice blend. While you can buy it I decided to try and make my own as I already had the component spices in the house. The recipe I went for was from the Daring Gourmet blog. Don’t be put off by the relatively long list of spices (coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns, allspice berries, cardamon pods, cloves, dried chilies, sweet paprika, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and tumeric) its a very simple blend to make.
A lot of what I read suggested making a range of dishes to be served on Injera bread, but I didn’t time in the day to get hold of teff flour, so I ended up just focusing on the dishes, and serving everything with pitta bread. Of the many different dishes that looked and sounded delicious I went for three based on the ingredients I already had, with a mix of meat and vegetables: doro wat (a spiced chicken dish), mesir wat (a spiced lentil stew) and fasolia (a spiced vegetable dish).
Doro wat (adapted from The Daring Gourmet blog)
- 3 chicken breasts, cut small pieces
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 5 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions (put in a food processor to until well a chunky puree)
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tbsn grated ginger
- ¼ cup berbere spice mix (described above)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup white wine mixed with 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Put the chicken pieces in a bowl and add the lemon juice over and mix well. Leave to rest for around 1 hour.
- Heat 2 tbsp of the butter with the olive oil, and then add the onions and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and 1 tbsp of butter and cover for 10 minutes.
- Add the berbere spice mix and the remaining butter and cover. Cook for 15 minutes on a low heat.
- Add the chicken, stock, and wine with honey, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Check the seasoning, add more salt or spice to taste and then cook for a further 15 minutes uncovered.
Mesir wat (adapted from the Cook’s Hideout blog)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup of red lentils
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 green chilies finely chopped
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp berbere spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium sauce pan and add the onion and chilies. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add ginger and garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato puree and berbere spice mix, cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add 3 cups of water and bring the to the boil then simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the lentils are cooked.
- Add salt to season at the end.
Fasolia (adapted from the berbere diaries blog)
- 2 finely chopped onions, chopped
- 1/3 c. groundnut (or other flavourless oil)
- 4 tbsp tomato puree
- 150g green beans chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- salt, to season
- Cook the onions on for five minutes, in a bit of the oil.
- Add the rest of the oil and cook for another five minutes.
- Add the tomato puree and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add the green beans and carrots, stir and cover.
- Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, then add the tomato, ginger, garlic, and salt and simmer.
I may have only recent discovered ethiopian recipes, but I will be sure to try more. I really like the berbere spice mix, which is quite spicy (and if you’re not so happy with spicy food you might want to reduce the amount of spice mix you add), but also smoky and adds so much flavour. I still have a bit left of the batch I made so I’ll probably add that to a soup at some point soon. Another country ticked off for this year.