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ethiopian cooking

  • b

Hi all,

So I love ethiopian food, but sadly live in an area where no decent e.f. exists. I'm interested in trying my hand at it. I'd love to hear about good recipes available online anyone has.

particularly interested in vegetarian dishes, a spicy red lentil one, injeera, and (ye)doro wat.

many thanks,

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  1. I'll be interested to see if anyone suggests how to go about making injera -- I once chatted up the staff at Ghenet in NYC about it, and they made it very clear that it was not something I should bother trying at home.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rickie

      'tain't rocket science. Try the link below.

      Link: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid...

    2. I've made doro wat (as well as the niter kibe, which you'll need for the doro wat) using the following link. It was as good as any I've had at Ethiopian restaurants in DC or NY:


      They also have a method of making injera using club soda and lemon juice. Would be curious to see how that turns out...

      1. Real injera (teff flour, sourdough process) can be a little daunting. I believe there's even two strains of teff, just to complicate things even further. I generally recommend that people buy their teff flour from their local restaurant as it will be the right color and will be fresher than the stuff that sits on the shelves for weeks on end in health food stores. Without a local restaurant nearby... I don't know what to tell you.

        The spiced butter/chili paste foundation is a piece of cake, but injera bread... like Rickie, I too would like to see someone successfully create it at home.

        If you're going to make faux injera with ingredients like wheat flour or baking powder, you might as well buy some pitas and eat those with your meal instead. If it isn't teff/isn't sourdough, it's not Ethiopian cuisine. The bread is the backbone of the whole shebang.

        1. Homemade injera is tricky - but (second-rate though the practice may be) Ethiopian food eats pretty good on white rice, or scooped up with triangles of pita or naan.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wayne keyser

            true, true...ive even served some with naan...here is the issue...the way injer is made works very well when we eat with our hands...and naan and roti dont work as well in absorbing the flavors...so just go to the ethi market and buy it...dont slack! hehe

          2. if you get into this, and are going to make the spiced butter, remember that it can be frozen so you won't have to go thru that time consuming process to make it the second time.

            Once you have some mitmita and berebere, you'll be in good shape. Definately buy shiro wat powder if you're into the vegetarian dishes -- yumm

            1. Hi;
              I made my own injera, it tasted a bit sour & really it's not so hard. Just like making a crepe. Here's a good site. So go ahead, it's well worth it.

              1. I'm planning on making (or attempting) injera within the next week or so. I have some teff flour and am going to make it with 100% teff, since my son is currently avoiding wheat. I keep hearing that it is too difficult to make injera, but I don't hear any reasons. Can anyone be specific about the difficulties they faced? That would be helpful.

                Is it that different from making dosas? I did that a few months ago, and it went quite smoothly. The process sounds pretty similar. For dosa, you soak dal and rice separately for a few hours, then grind them and combine them. You let them ferment at room temperature for a day or two, and then cook them in a large flat pan or griddle.

                Also, any tried and true Ethiopian spicy cheese recipes out there? I have an interesting batch of veggie/legume recipes, but would like to have one dairy in the mix.

                2 Replies
                1. re: bear

                  The only "difficulty" is getting it to spontaneously ferment which may not be as easy with flour as with the whole grain/legumes. Organic flour might help, but the only thing I've seen here like that is red or brown teff, which is unlikely to taste like what you may be used to in restaurants. (White teff is generally "preferred," not to mention that using wheat flour is far from unheard of in US restaurants.) If you're using a recipe that calls for any sort of leavening, that won't be much of an issue. Apart from that, keep in mind that injera shouldn't be at all crisp, browned, etc. - compared to things like dosas and crepes, you definitely want to "undercook" it.

                  1. re: MikeG

                    Thanks, for the info Mike. I feel a little braver now, since I have an easy back up source for injera at a local convenience that people on the Boston board seem to like. I have the Bob's Red Mill teff. Not sure what color it is considered.


                    Now, if anyone has any tried and true veggie Ethiopian recipes that they haven't yet posted, I'll gladly try them out. I do have several from a google search that I'll be happy to post when I finally get around to making the feast.

                2. Let's just put the whole injera issue aside and look at the entrees.

                  You can liken them to curries, and they can certainly be eaten over rice ... not very Ethiopian, true, but then you've stated that your options are limited by your locale (and what's wrong with a little "fusion"?)

                  Fortunately, the web is positively crawling with recipes - here are a couple of links:



                  I find that a few "flavor notes" go right to the heart of the cuisine. First, ideally, a balanced spice mix (berbere) is a great help. Second, ginger and cayenne and clove are some of the loudest "players" in the "orchestra", and subtle alterations in how you use those make for a delightful variety of different dishes. Third, butter, lots and lots of butter (or ghee) is usual, but you can lower the amount if you want a lower-cal version.

                  Try these:

                  Ethiopian Ginger Vegetables

                  5 Hot Green chiles -- skin,seed,chop
                  1 teaspoon Fresh ginger -- grated
                  6 Small Potatoes -- cubed
                  1/2 pound Green beans
                  4 Carrots -- cut in strips
                  2 medium Onions -- quartered, separated
                  2 tablespoons Olive oil or Niter Kebbeh (spiced butter
                  ) 2 cloves Garlic
                  Salt and pepper to taste

                  Place potatoes, green beans, and carrots into boiling salted water, cover, and cook 5 mins. Remove veggies and rinse.Saute the chile and onion in oil until soft but not brown. Add the ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper and sautee 5 mins. Add the rest of ingredients, stir well, and cook over medium heat until veggies are tender.

                  Ethiopian Lentil Salad

                  1/2 pound Lentils
                  1/2 cup Red Onion -- Finely chopped (opt)
                  3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
                  3 tablespoons Olive Oil
                  1 teaspoon Salt
                  3 cloves Garlic -- minced
                  2 Jalapenos -- minced
                  Pepper -- to taste

                  Rinse the lentils under running water in a sieve. Then drop them into boiling water - enough to cover by 2". Simmer the lentils for 30 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain thoroughly and set aside. Combine the vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a deep bowl. Mix well. Add the lentils, garlic, and jalapenos, and toss gently. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

                  Misr Wat (Lentils)

                  2 cups Dried lentils
                  6 cups Water
                  3/4 cup Anaheim green peppers -- chopped
                  2 cups Red onions -- peeled, chopped
                  1/4 cup Spiced butter
                  1 tablespoon Grated fresh ginger
                  2 cloves Garlic -- peeled, crushed
                  1 tablespoon Berbere
                  Pepper -- to taste

                  Boil the lentils in water for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. In 4 quart saucepot, saute the Anaheim peppers and onions in the spiced butter until the onions are tender. Add the lentils, 4c of the reserved liquid, and the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, over low heat 35-40 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
                  Yatakilt Wat (Vegetable Stew)

                  1 cup Onion -- chopped
                  2 cloves Garlic -- minced
                  1 tablespoon Berbere
                  1 tablespoon Paprika
                  1/4 cup Butter or Niter Kibbeh
                  1 cup Green Beans
                  1 cup Carrots
                  1 cup Potatoes -- cubed
                  1 cup Tomatoes -- chopped
                  1/4 cup Tomato Paste
                  2 cups Water
                  Salt and pepper -- to taste

                  Saute the onions, garlic, berbere, and paprika in the Niter Kebbeh for 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrots, and potatoes and continue to saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taset and mix in the parsley. Serve with injera and yogurt or cottage cheese following the same serving and eating procedure as for Yemiser W'et.

                  Yemisr Wat (Lentil Stew) - Another version

                  1 cup Lentils
                  1 cup Onion -- chopped
                  2 cloves Garlic -- minced
                  2 tablespoons Butter (or Niter Kebbeh)
                  1 teaspoon Berbere
                  1 teaspoon Cumin
                  1 teaspoon Paprika
                  2 cups Crushed Tomato
                  1/2 cup Tomato Paste
                  1 cup Water
                  Salt and Pepper -- to taste

                  Rinse and cook the lentils. Meanwhile saute the onions and garlic in the niter kebbeh, until the onions are just translucent. Add the berbere, cumin, and paprika and saute for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock or water and continue simmering. When the lentils are cooked, drain them and mix them into the saute. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wayne keyser

                    Thanks so much, wayne,

                    These sound really delicious. Just what I'm looking for. I'll let you know how the experience goes when I make several, along with the injera, when we splurge on our feast.

                  2. I've been scouring the internets for a decent quosta recipe but I can't seem to find anything other than the boring "sautee onions, garlic, add spinach" formula which yields NOTHING like the quosta I've eaten at the Ethiopian restaurants. Does anyone have technique or spicing ideas that could make my quosta more authentic?

                    1. The current (or was it last month's?) Saveur magazine has a whole article on Ethiopian cooking --

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: sea97horse

                        REALLY? I don't subscribe - but this is my favorite cuisine of ALL time, bar none. So sad I missed this issue. I can go look myself, but do you happen to know if one can buy their articles? And, is it worth buying?

                        1. re: AnnVL

                          Ann: you can go to their website, saveur .com, and look at the recipe index for Issue #110. I'll also check if it's still on my recycling pile. I enjoy the magazine: sort of high-end travel and food, fun to read but I don't make many recipes from it.

                          My own introduction to Ethiopian food was in the early 1980's, when I worked with an Ethiopian couple named (no kidding) Abraham and Sarah. Sarah was a fantastic cook -- the NY Times even did an article on her. She cooked in big pots and stirred them with a sawed-off broomstick. She loved spicy food so much that she would eat raw hot peppers until she was crying so much she couldn't take it anymore! She used to give me jars of her home-made berbere, which is probably why I have an asbestos tongue now.

                          1. re: sea97horse

                            I also started my affair w/ Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisine in the later 80s - and if I ever see a cooking class for it - I'll sign myself up as many times as possible, you can be sure. I don't KNOW what it is about that food - but it just slays me, to this day.

                            Your description of Saveur is precisely why I haven't subscribed, but sure am sorry I missed this nugget! Will check web though. :)

                            Great story too, thanks for that too - I can picture your friend with tears, happy as a clam, with a hot tongue.

                        2. Injera is dead simple. Just a teff and wheat flour pancake. Instead of water use half water and half beer.