Saturday, January 27, 2007

What do Ethiopians Eat? I Thought They Were Starved?!

I stole my title from Michael's dad. I thought it was clever. I love Ethiopian Food! It's probably my favorite food of all time! I usually make Mesir Wat and Vegetable Aletcha but today, I made Isa's Spicy Ethiopian Lentil Stew from The Post Punk Kitchen. Unfortunately, the site has been down today so I am unable to link you directly to the recipe, but, it's not hard to find. I feel that my recipe below is more "authentic" but, Isa's rendition is quite good, too. Even sick, I'm most at home in the kitchen. (Perhaps that's why I made a dozen cupcakes on Friday even though I was feverish and took off work?!?)

Misir Wat (Ethiopian Red Lentil Puree)
Servings: 4-6
2 Onions chopped
2 cloves Garlic crushed
2 t Gingerroot, peeled, minced
¼ c Oil, butter or niter kibbeh
1 t Turmeric
2 T Paprika
½ to 2 t Cayenne Pepper
1 lb Red Lentils
4 c Water or Stock Salt & Pepper to taste
*Puree onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor or blender.
*Heat oil, butter or niter kibbeh in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add turmeric, paprika and cayenne pepper and stir rapidly to color oil and cook spices through, about 30 seconds. Add onion puree and sauté on medium heat until excess moisture evaporates and onion loses its raw aroma, about 5-10 minutes. Do not burn.
*Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and simmer till lentils are cooked through and fall apart, about 30-40 minutes. Add water if necessary to keep from drying out.
*Stir in salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Injera (Ethiopian Flat Bread)
3 cups self-rising flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 T active dry yeast (equiv. of one package)
3 ½ cups water
*Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
*Cover and let set an hour or longer until batter rises and becomes stretchy.
*The batter can sit for as long as 3-6 hours if you need it to. (3 hrs is what I prefer)
*When you are ready, stir batter if liquid has settled on the bottom.
*In blender, whip 2 c. of batter at a time, thinning it with 1/2-3/4 c. water. Batter will be quite thin.
*Heat a 10-inch or 12-inch non-stick frying pan over medium to medium-high heat.
*Pour batter into heated pan (1/2 c. if using a 12-inch pan; 1/3 c. if using a 10-inch pan) and quickly swirl pan to spread batter as thin as possible. Batter should be no thicker than 1/8 inch.
*Do NOT turn. Injera is cooked through when bubbles appear all over the top.
*Lay each Injera on a towel for a minute or two then stack in a covered dish to keep warm. (VERY important to rest on towel before stacking!)

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