Saturday, March 13, 2010

An adventure in cooking Ethiopian food, Part One

The meal we made (for two of us, keep in mind) included injera, doro wot, collard greens, misser wot and lamb tibs. I'm going to include the recipes for just the injera and doro wot, because the doro wot was my favorite, and, well, the injera goes with it! I'll also include the recipes for spiced butter and berbere spice, since they are necessary to make doro wot. I'll follow up with the recipes for misser wot and lamb tibs soon!

If you've ever had Ethiopian food, you'll understand why we wanted to make so many things. First off, it's all so delicious, and second of all, I always eat Ethiopian food with a group of friends, we order as many dishes there are people, and it comes on one HUGE serving platter, that we just spin a few degrees anytime someones ready to eat something they can't reach. So we made a lot. We made a few half recipes, but the doro wot and the misser wot were so good, I could have eaten them forever, and they made WONDERFUL leftovers, reason not to make a lot!

Here are the recipes we used. They're all from Recipes from Afar and Near, the cookbook sold at the Lucy's Legacy exhibit at the Pacific Science Center.

Injera (Traditional Bread) Makes 6-8 Eight Inch Injera
Ingredients: 2 cups self-rising flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup teff flour (can be found at Whole Foods), 5 cups lukewarm water.
Directions: Combine flours and water and mix into a smooth, fairly thing batter. Let the batter ferment at room temp, covered, for up to 3 days. The batter should be thinner than a pancake batter but not runny. Heat a nonstick skillet until a water drop dances on the surface. Pour a small amount of batter into the skillet, covering the entire bottom in a very thin coating. Cover and let the steam create the injera; this should take about 2 minutes. Do not let the bottom brown. The book says "practice, practice, practice!" and it also notes that though this is the most simple recipe, it is the most difficult part of an Ethopian meal.
Side Note: We messed this up, so it wasn't rising. To make it kind of work, I just used a balloon whisk to whisk the heck out of it till the batter had bubbles and would immediately put it on the pan so that the bubbles would cook into it....a last ditch effort, but it kind of worked! :)

Doro Wot (Chicken Stewed in Berbere Sauce) Serves 8-10
Ingredients: 2-3 lbs chicken, cut up into small cubes, 1 cup spiced butter, divided (recipe below), 3 lbs onions, diced and lightly pulsed in a food processor (don't puree though!), 5 garlic cloves minced, 2 tsp grated fresh ginger, 3 heaping T berbere (recipe below, or buy at a spice store), 1/4 cup tomato paste, salt, 3 cups water or chicken broth, 10 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and slightly scored.
Directions: Prepare the chicken and score each piece to ensure the sauce can penetrate. In a large stew pot, melt 1/4 cup of the spiced butter. Add onions, garlic and ginger and saute on medium heat for 15 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add berbere and tomato paste and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes (when we made this, it wasn't at all moist enough to do that, so we skipped the 'simmer for 30 minutes' part). Add salt to taste if desired and slowly add the chicken, stirring as you go, coating each piece well with the sauce. Continue to simmer, adding enough water or broth to maintain the consistency of a thick soup. When the chicken is half done, add the hard boiled eggs and remaining spiced butter. Cover and continue cooking until the chicken is done. Serve with injera.
Side Note: The eggs seem weird, but they taste really delicious, so just go with it! Also, these are forgiving recipes full of delicious ingredients, so if something seems weird, just add more spice, or turn down the heat, or add more chicken broth, and it will work out!

Nit'ir Qibe (Spiced Butter) Makes 1 lb, reduce the ingredients to meet your needs!
Ingredients: 1 lb unsalted butter, 4 t grated fresh ginger, 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped, 5 garlic cloves, chopped, 1 t ground fenugreek, 1 t ground cumin, 1 t cardamom seeds, 3/4 t ground turmeric, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 t dried basil leaves.
Directions: Melt butter in a heavy saucepan on moderate heat. Bring butter to a light boil. When the foam rises to the surface, skim off the top and discard. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Store in a covered container at room temp.

Berbere (Red Pepper Spice Mix) Makes about 1 cup
We just bought this at a local store that sold a wide range of spices, but if you can't find it, here's the recipe.
Ingredients: 1/2 t whole allspice, 1 t cumin, 1 t fenugreek, 2 t ground ginger, 2 t onion powder, 1 t ground cardamom, 1 t ground nutmeg, 1/4 t ground cloves, 1/2 t garlic powder, 1/2 cup dried serrano chiles, ground fine, 2 T salt, 1/4 cup paprika.
Directions: Grind allspice, cumin and fenugreek. Combine with all remaining ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

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