It is not your usual dining experience and not something many of us are accustomed to, however its uniqueness is what attracts us to experience it for ourselves. With the intent to bring everyone together at mealtime, the delicious food is served on share platters, creating a truly inclusive dining experience.
A typical platter known as Beyaynetu lets you sample lots of flavours all at once and is popular for those who have not experienced Ethiopian cuisine before. Be sure to use your right hand only to scoop up your food as it's frowned upon to eat with your left hand. Injera, a sourdough spongy flatbread, is the centrepiece of the meal and is designed to hold thick vegetable or meat stews.
Injera is made from teff, the world’s smallest grain. Some even consider teff to be right up there in being a super-grain, similar to the ever popular quinoa and spelt, as it's known for its rich protein and calcium while also being gluten-free.
If you enjoy Indian food for all the incorporated spices, you will simply love Ethiopian cuisine. Using a plethora of spices, they're not shy when it comes to their bold flavours. Berbere is an Ethiopian spice mix which consists of a myriad of 16 spices including fenugreek, chilli powder, ginger, garlic, cardamom, and cinnamon. Soaking up the juices and savouring the delicious flavours with the injera, may just be the most enjoyable part!
Credit: Jean Rebiffe
We've now briefed you on what Ethiopian food is like, so it's time to try it for yourself! Here are a few recipes to tantalise your tastebuds as you uncover the delights of this aromatic and delicious cuisine firsthand…
Berbere Spice Mix
- ½ teaspoon Fenugreek
- ½ cup ground dried chillies
- ¼ cup Paprika
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground all spice
Credit: Marco Verch
- Finely grind fenugreek seeds in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.
- Stir together with all other ingredients until combined well.
- Store in an air-tight container for future use.
Suggestion: For your next slow cooker meal, why not sprinkle a small amount of your homemade Berbere spice mix for an enjoyable winter-warming dish.
Injera (Ethiopian bread)
- 2 cups of Teff flour (found in your local health food shop)
- 3 ½ cups of water
- Pinch of salt
- Mix Teff flour with water. Leave to stand in a covered bowl for 2 days until it starts to bubble.
- Mixture should be slightly sour and have a consistency of crepe batter. Stir in the salt.
- Add a ladle of the mixture to a pre-heated skillet and cook slowly until air bubbles appear on the top.
- Keep watching it to ensure it does not brown and it’s not too thick.
- Take it off the heat and onto a round platter.
- Serve with your favourite stews or curries.
Credit: Lelaw Wondimu