But to someone who's not familiar with East African cuisine, deciphering an Ethiopian recipe or the menu at an Eritrean restaurant can be sort of like trying to understand hieroglyphics in the year 2011. Continue reading to get to know a few staples of Ethiopian cooking.
In Ethiopian cuisine, it's not traditional to follow a meal with a sweet treat. Formal desserts, like ones served in America, virtually don't exist. Instead, many Ethiopians prefer to end their meal with a cooling course of yogurt and cottage cheese. Known as Iab, the mixture is similar to Greece's feta and is actually considered part of the main course. It has a somewhat acidic taste, and counter balances the heat from spicy entree dishes. To give this alternative to dessert a whirl, read more
The best drink to pair with your Ethiopian meal is Tej. It's known as "honey wine," but is actually a mead that is indigenous produced from pure wild flower honey and specialty hops imported from Ethiopia. It's pale yellow and contains no carbonation. If you can't find a bottle near you, you can purchase it online at brotherhood winery for $11 (thanks HonestMuffin!), or you can do the next best thing and make a batch of your own. read more
One of the most well know national dishes of Ethiopia, injera is a pancake like flatbread made from a special type of flour. The flour is mixed with water and ferments for a couple of days. After it ferments, the dough is fried into large flat discs. Serving utensils are not common in the Ethiopian culture. Instead meats, stews, salads, and everything else is scooped onto torn pieces of injera which acts as both plate and fork.
Much of Ethiopia's cuisine is in the form of stews or wats. These stews are generally paired with a type of flatbread that acts as a serving utensil. For tonight's meal, take your family on a faraway journey to Africa with an authentic chicken stew. Although it takes a little over an hour to prepare, it's simple to make. Serve with a cold beer or sweet Riesling to counteract the spiciness. To travel to Ethiopia in the comfort of your very own kitchen, read more
If you're hoping to try Ethiopian food, you might want to check out this ultimate Ethiopian food resource. Here you'll find Ethiopian restaurants around the world, recipes and more - like this interview with Ethiopian born, acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson. - Ethiopian Restaurant