Packed with tons of flavor and spices, Ethiopian food is simple to prepare yet still exotic. The dishes are typically eaten by hand without utensils and shared with others using the same plate. Dining is meant to be an intimate experience.
Types of Ethiopian Cuisine
Common dishes in Ethiopia features a variety of vegetables, spices, and stewed meats. Popular foods from the region include:
- Wat is a thick stew is often served with injera and can feature chicken, lamb, or beef.
- Spices commonly used include chili peppers, garlic, cumin, allspice, coriander, and fenugreek.
- Lentils are often served as a side dish or main course.
Classic Ethiopian Recipes
For an authentic Ethiopian meal, try the following classic recipes:
Berbere Spice Blend
Berbere can be used in dishes featuring fish, chicken, and lamb, as well as in stews and on lentils and grains. It is a powerful spice blend that will add big flavor to a variety of dishes.
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons. sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a small pan, add the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns, whole allspice, and whole cloves. Heat over medium heat, making sure to shake the pan to toast the spices, for two to three minutes.
- Remove spices from pan and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.
- In a coffee grinder or food processor, combine the remaining ingredients with the toasted spices.
- Grind spices and ingredients into a fine powder.
- Makes 1/2 cup and can be stored in an air-tight container.
Injera (Flat Bread)
Injera is a type of flat bread used to pick up pieces of food and is a staple at every meal.
- 3 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups warm water
- In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until a batter forms.
- Allow batter to sit in bowl for an hour or until it rises and is stretchy.
- Stir batter to incorporate any liquid that has settled on the bottom of the bowl.
- Use a blender and add 2 cups of the batter with 1/2 to 3/4 cups of water to thin. Make sure the ending batter is very thin.
- Over medium heat, preheat a fry pan and pour in batter to make a 1/8 inch bread. This will resemble a pancake.
- Do not flip.
- Once batter bubbles over the top, remove from pan and place on a clean towel.
- Stack bread on a dish to keep warm.
Doro Wat (Chicken in Red Pepper Paste)
The addition of peanut butter in this dish is sure to surprise and delight many diners' palates.
- 3 pounds mixed chicken pieces
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 3 ounce can of tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 onions, chopped coarsely
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 1 teaspoon berbere seasoning
- Remove skin from chicken pieces and lightly score each piece and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt butter.
- Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté for five minutes.
- Add the berbere seasoning and tomato paste, and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer mixture for 15 minutes.
- Slowly add in chicken making sure to stir so each piece gets coated in the sauce mixture.
- Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the peanut butter and stir.
- Add the eggs to the pot and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve while hot.
Variety of Dishes
Ethiopian cuisine features a mix of spices, slow-simmered meats, and a range of vegetables and grains. You can take your family and friends on a culinary adventure by preparing some classic dishes that may be simple but feature tons of flavor. It makes for an experience not to be missed. To complement your meal, serve a strong cup of coffee to each guest.