Well, hi there! My recent absence from this blog cannot be explained by a broken computer (despite trying really hard to break it today by dropping it in the snow), nor being stuck in the hospital (although after this week I am about ready to check myself into the mental ward). I have been BUSY. Work/school has been cray-zee. I have had actual homework. Of the non-baking type. Seriously. Where's the fun in that?
This week-end, between doing said homework, I plotted my return. It would be something big, something flashy, something spicy and delicious! How about an Ethiopian feast, complete with Injera (Ethiopian flat bread), Doro Wat (chicken stew), Mesir Wat (Ethiopian lentils), and an Ethiopian cabbage/carrot/potato side dish.
This ambitious feat required four of my five stove top elements (want photographic proof? Check my Instagram account!). My father, who phoned in the middle of crazy chaos was greeted with: "can't talk, I have four burners going!". My boyfriend, who made the poor decision to see what the heck was going on upstairs in the kitchen, quickly retreated back down to the Man Cave. Wise decision, Ben, wise decision.
The product from all this craziness was worth every single dish that it dirtied. It was just packed with spicy, exotic flavors and was all-round fantastic.
Ethiopian food is not shy subtle food. It is...how shall we say...extroverted food. It's kind of like that guy at the office who doesn't know the concept of whispering. It is bold, in your face flavor. It reminds me a bit of Indian food, but with a unique North African twist. Best of all, you serve it on flat bread...so you basically get to eat your plate.
Injera is Ethiopian flat bread. In order to make traditional injera, you need Teff flour, which I could not find in Calgary. Apparently you can order it on the internet. Not happening. I don't think that this recipe was at all authentic (think of it as a bubbly, crepe with yeast), but it was tasty, and fulfilled its role of dipper/scooper. There were no left-overs.
Injera (Makes 18 flat breads)
- 3 cups of warm water, divided
- 1 8g package of dry active yeast
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 tsp of salt
- additional water, as needed
- Spray oil (for pan)
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup warm water with yeast. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the water with the flour. Whisk until it is smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 4 hours.
After 4 hours, spray frying pan with spray oil to coat. Preheat over medium-high heat. Whisk batter until it is smooth. Add salt, and additional water, whisking until it reaches a crepe-like consistency.
You may need to do a few testers to get the batter consistency and pan heat right. Add around half a soup spoon worth of batter to the frying pan, and swirl to coat the bottom. I used a 8 inch diameter frying pan after a few disasters with the larger one.
Fry for a minute or so, until the edges begin to lift. Shake the frying pan, and if the injera moves around, it is ready to flip over. Cook the other side until the injera moves when the frying pan is shaken. Transfer to a plate.
Allow injera to cool to room temperature before serving. Will keep refrigerated for several days in an airtight container.
You don't have to go all crazy like me and make three dishes and the flat bread. If you have to pick just one, I would go for the chicken, and serve it with a salad and the flat bread. This Doro Wat is NOT to be missed. SO. GOOD.
This chicken recipe is pretty low maintenance, however you will need to prepare a berbere spice mix (unless you have one already).
Berbere Spice Mix (Makes 1 cup)
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp fenugreek seed (or powder)
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
Combine all spices. Store in an airtight container.
*Note- I cut back on the crushed red pepper and cayenne because I was scared to spice myself out. If you like it spice-ay, double them!
Doro Wat (Makes 4 servings)
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 large yellow onions, diced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 3 tbsp berbere (recipe follows)
- 2 cups water
- 8 small chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized peices
- salt, to taste
Melt butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, stirring to coat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized, around 25 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, berbere and water. Add the chicken. Cover and simmer for around 40 minutes. Remove lid and allow to cook until sauce has reduced by about half. It should have a thick consistency (like gravy). Taste and adjust salt, and if needed more berbere.
I could have stopped with the doro wat, however when I saw that there were lots of Ethiopian lentil dishes, I had to have one! I have a strange, inexplicable love for lentils. The mesir wat (lentils) is the yellowy looking thing at the top of the plate. Let's face it. It does not look appetizing....let's not judge a book by its cover. I promise, it tastes really, REALLY good.
Mesir Wat (makes 8 servings)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 lb red lentils (although I used regular dried lentils)
- 4 cups stock (I used chicken stock)
- salt & pepper to taste
Recipe from Food.com
Combine onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion/garlic/ginger paste, and cook until excess moisture is gone and onion is cooked through, around 5 minutes. Add tumeric, paprika and cayenne, stirring to coat.
Add lentils and stock, and cook, simmering for 30-40 minutes or until lentils are cooked through and falling apart. Make sure to stir it occasionally. You may need to add additional water to keep the mesir wat from drying out too much. You want it to be thick and somewhat paste-like.
Note: This mesir wat freezes well, and is a breeze to re-heat.
This cabbage/carrot/potato stew was a last minute addition...I had to have some veggies! In all, it was pretty easy to whip up while the doro wat was simmering. The flavors were mild, and a bit sweet.
Ethiopian Cabbage Dish (makes 8 servings)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 onion, diced finely
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 a head of cabbage, shredded
- 10 or so small potatoes, or equivalent large potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots and onions, cook for around 5 minutes until onions are cooked through and translucent. Add the salt, pepper, cumin and tumeric, stirring to coat. Add the cabbage and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat, add the potatoes, mixing with the rest, cover, and cook (stirring occasionally) until potatoes are soft, 20 to 30 more minutes.