Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Ethiopian Meal

What People Eat Around the World (click here) fascinates me. I like to explore other cultures by reading recipes for their foods. I watched Jeff Smith aka The Frugal Gourmet on PBS during the mid-1990's. He closed every show saying, "I bid you peace" and I couldn't help loving that as much as I loved his shows on ethnic cooking. I was honestly crushed when I first heard whisperings of the scandal that took him off the air. Despite his probable evil-doings, his cookbook, The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors -Recipes You Should Have Gotten from Your Grandmother, is probably one of my very favorite cookbooks. I REALLY LOVE cookbooks. To say I have quite a few is a gross understatement, and so to say its one of my very favorites is saying alot. One of the many things I love about my husband is that he has never once implied I should get rid of any of my cookbooks, and he seems to understand, or at least accept, that its not so much I need them to cook but I just love having them. He bought me Our Immigrant Ancestors years ago when our oldest (now 22) was a tot and my cookbook collection was still quite modest. I remember being really PISSED when she sprayed water on it while playing at the kitchen sink, and it always fall open to page 109, Cuban Black Bean Soup, as a result. You don't have to actually cook from this book, you can just read about the history and some of the foods of the different people who've immigrated to this country. Of course, you will eventually want to taste those foods. That is what happened to me with the foods of Ethiopia. Luckily, really great authentic Ethiopian food can be found at Kokeb in Seattle and I'm absolutely charmed by the rustic simplicity and quality of their food every time I eat there. But I genuinely love to cook, and so every once in awhile I make a variation of this meal, both to satisfy my desire to eat Ethiopian food, and to enjoy the experience of cooking exactly what another home cook in another part of the world would make for their family meal.

Berbere Spice Mix
This spice mix is crucial for Ethiopian cooking. It isn't searingly hot, and once made, it will keep in the fridge for up to six months.
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cardamom
1/4 t. ground coriander
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
1 T. grated onion
1 t. pressed garlic
1 T. red wine

In a small caste iron pan over low heat, toast for 1 minute:
1/2 c. (yes, cup) paprika
1/2 T. cayenne
2 t. salt
1/8 t. ground black pepper
Slowly stir in 1/3 c. water, then add spice mix. Cook 10 minutes. Cover spice mix with 1 T. olive oil and store in a small glass jar in the fridge for up to 6 months. Besides Berbere, onions are also crucial in Ethiopian foods.

Lentil Wat
Cook 1 c. red lentils in water to cover plus 1 1/2 inch
In a heavy skillet, in 1 T. olive oil, saute:
1/2-1 chopped red onion
2 minced garlic cloves
Add 2 T. Berbere Spice Mix. Add cooked lentils and salt and pepper to taste. This is so tasty and I always wish I had doubled the recipe after I've served it. Eat with Injera bread.

Injera Bread
Combine in blender:
3 c. warm water
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 t. baking soda
Remove to a bowl and stir in:
3 T. beer or club soda
Heat an electric griddle to 300 degrees and ladle 1/4 c. batter (twice) spreading in an outward spiral to form a very thin pancake. Cook until it bubbles all over and no longer appears wet. Cook only one side. Remove and stack on a place until all are covered. They are best fresh but we happily eat them as leftovers with lentils, jam -or Doro Wat.

Doro Wat or Ethiopian Chicken Stew
This recipe, the national dish of Ethiopia, is adapted from model Gate Maya Haile's recipe she learned to make from her Ethiopian mother and sisters. She is the wife of Marcus Samuelsson (also Ethiopian born) and it was included in his cookbook, New American Table. Like her, I also believe procurring the best quality chicken possible is important and every bit worth the effort.

3 T. olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
4 red onion, chopped
1/4 c. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Cook 20-30 minutes on med-low heat. Add:
1 T. tomato paste
2 T. Berbere
Cook 10-15 minutes more on low. Add:
4-6 skinless chicken thighs and legs, seperated; 10 wings, jointed; or 1 chicken, pieced, breast meat deboned(and saving bones, back and neck for stock making), soaked in lemon water.
1 t. cardamom
1 t. salt
2 T. butter
2 c. chicken stock (or water)
1 c. red wine
Cook for about 45 minutes. Add a bunch of greens (collards, kale, spinach or Swiss Chard) and cook 10-15 minutes more. For a complete Ethiopian meal, serve with Injera bread, Lentil Wat, hard-boiled eggs and cottage cheese.

No comments:

Post a Comment