Ethiopian Food

topic posted Sun, September 9, 2007 - 4:03 PM by  Ashley
I'm looking for recipes and info on Ethiopian food/cooking. Any suggestions?

I haven't found any good websites, as they all suggest alternatives for that can be found in the American grocery stores.

I don't need a recipe for Tej made by mixing wine and honey, I want to brew it myself.

The health food store here sells all manner of ingredients, so I have no problem finding tef.

I'm looking for authentic recipes without substitutions.
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  • Unsu...

    Re: Ethiopian Food

    Mon, September 10, 2007 - 12:01 AM
    A friend of mine tried Injera...the rye/barley bread and he was convinced that he knew why all the Ethiopians are so tastes like kack.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Ethiopian Food

      Mon, September 10, 2007 - 12:04 AM
      yeah, Im not a big fan of Ethiopian food at all
      • Re: Ethiopian Food

        Mon, September 10, 2007 - 6:25 AM
        Oh my, really? I LOVE Ethiopian! I rarely eat it though, because I can't seem to stop myself & I wind up uncomfortably full. I love eating with injera instead of forks - it's like a giant buckwheat crepe! Ah well, to each their own...
        • Re: Ethiopian Food

          Mon, September 10, 2007 - 7:53 AM
          I love Ethiopian food, too! I just moved to Washington DC & there seem to be a lot of Ethiopians around here. I even saw injera at a gas station food mart! I need to find some recipes.
          • Re: Ethiopian Food

            Mon, September 10, 2007 - 7:59 AM
            a quick google for "Ethiopian recipes" brought up tons of results. Found this if you want to make Tej from scratch: Looks like you're in the right place to get any ingredients you need!
            • Unsu...

              Re: Ethiopian Food

              Mon, September 10, 2007 - 7:36 PM
              I know a LOT about ethiopian food since I just finished some vegan outreach in a vegetarian restaurant.
              I would suggest that if your friend tasted injera that tasted bad, that he probably had bad injera (especially if it was made by a non-ethiopian)
              plus injera is not rye and barley at is barley or barley and tef
              it is a sour bread (no yeast) made with a starter instead...and often the starter is made with wheat flour
              but the starter is about a 1/8 cup of the bread is almost wheat-free too
              good injera is AMAZING!
              the barley one is more mild and soft than the barley-tef which is a bit stiffer and a bit more sour
              but tef is incredibly nutritious and incredibly good for you.

              oh and ethiopians are not thin at least not here in north america.

              ethiopian cooking has two main types of food: meat dishes (beef, lamb, chicken and sometimes fish)
              and wots : vegetarian dishes (stews made with beans, cabbage, collards, string beans and carrots, etc)

              as a general rule the wots are for "poor" people and the wealthy eat the meat dishes "tebs" (their favourite being raw beef)
              so in north america many ethiopian eat A LOT of meat and therefore are quite large and not skinny at all.
              In ethiopia even the wealthy would eat mostly wots and only some tebs, here they start eating only tebs... ;-(

              BUT there is hope, as all the wot (if made traditionally) are vegan!
              the most popular wots are
              shiro (chickpea flour)
              Missir (red lentils)
              yellow bean
              cabbage stew
              gomen (collard greens)
              fasolia (string beans and carrots)
              denich (potatoes) usually served as a salad or in sandwiches
              telba (flax seeds)
              azifa (black lentils)
              keye sir (beets)
              foul (fava beans) for breakfast
              and butucha (chickpea) also for breakfast (ethiopian vegan eggs!)

              oh and also kita fir fir and various other forms of fir fir or fit fit (which literally means chopped...and kita is bread so kita fir fir is chopped bread fried in butter (I use earth balance)

              by using the ethiopian names it should be easier to find recipes.

              most ethiopian wots are slow stewed and quite easy to make.

              to make traditionnal ethiopian food the most important ingredient is berbere powder which is a special sun dried hot pepper blend that ethiopians use. To make good ethiopian food you really need to find real ethiopian berbere powder (preferably from ethiopian) regular chilli powder won't work.

              good luck and have fun!
              ethiopian food is very filling and very much comfort style food...and if well-prepared it can be delicious.

              if any of you are ever in Toronto go to M&B Yummy's (that's the restaurant that I did vegan outreach in) here injera is delicious! and her food is all vegan...she even has vegan "tebs" yes...vegan beef and vegan chicken, and even vegan ground beef...very very tasty!
              (oh and she serves vegan tofutti soft served ice creams and sundaes too!)
              • Re: Ethiopian Food

                Tue, September 11, 2007 - 6:26 AM
                that sounds like an awesome resto antoine! next time im in t-dot im gonna check it out. i also adore ethiopian food.
              • Re: Ethiopian Food

                Tue, September 11, 2007 - 11:42 AM
                Thank you so much, that was very helpful. I appreciate the time you took in writing it up, and I will definitely use it.
                • Re: Ethiopian Food

                  Wed, September 12, 2007 - 9:27 AM
                  I LOVE it. I use to live down the street from one, bartended there, too.

                  I have a recipe for doro wat at home - it's infamous.

                  I miss ful (fuul? fool?) for breakfast!

                  I'm gluten-free, now, but I loved injera.

                  Man this thread is making me hongry!
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Ethiopian Food

                    Thu, September 13, 2007 - 8:12 PM
                    I LOVE Ethiopian food because of the spices, the chickpeas and the lentils. Here's a great fall recipe:


                    * 1/2 cup Onion; sliced
                    * 10 cloves Garlic; sliced thin
                    * 2 cups Carrots; sliced thin
                    * 1 cup Water
                    * 3 tablespoons Corn oil
                    * 1 teaspoon Tumeric; ground
                    * 1 Fresh hot green peppers halved
                    * 1 pound Cabbage; coarsely sliced
                    * 1 teaspooon Queman; (use Berbere)
                    * 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
                    * 1 teaspoon Salt; to taste
                    * 1 pound Potatoes; cut like french fries

                    Aleecha is a mixed vegetable stew. Quemam contains an ingredient not
                    found in the US. I'd substitute dry berebere. In dry pan over moderate low heat,
                    stir fry onion, garlic, and carrots for 2 mins. Add 1/2c of the water and cook 5
                    mins longer. Add the oil and continue to simmer. Add the tumeric, chilies,
                    and cabbage. Cover the pan and steam to reduce the bulk for 2 mins. Stir
                    well and add the quemam, tomato paste, salt and the potatoes. Cover the pan and cook for 5 mins. Add the remaining water and simmer for 5 minutes more to soften the potatoes and thicken the sauce somewhat. Serve at room temperature with Injeera bread, Naan, tortilla or Pita
                    • Re: Ethiopian Food

                      Fri, March 13, 2009 - 1:07 PM
                      WONDERFUL recipe!

                      Very similar to one I have. The exception is that I take that and fold it into 3 cups of brown rice and make a casserole with it. Cover (lightly) the top with parmesean (or soy based cheese) in a 9x13 oven dish at 350 for 30 min, remove foil and cook for another 20-30 and serve.
                • Re: Ethiopian Food

                  Wed, December 17, 2008 - 11:06 AM
                  Please have a true habashar cook for you from thier home not from Ethiopian restaurant . i worked with alot of these wonderful people in Seattle and they would cook for me . spicy lentils with enjara which i do love ........ i do not care for Ethiopian restaurants . But Ethiopan wine is really awesome . and very strong .
              • Re: Ethiopian Food

                Fri, December 7, 2007 - 5:06 PM
                Thank you so much for this information! I have some collard greens in my garden and I can't wait to prepare them in the manner of my favorite Ethiopian dish!
                • Re: Ethiopian Food

                  Fri, December 7, 2007 - 9:14 PM
                  I love ethiopian food and here in Berkeley and Oakland we have some excellent places especially Cafe Calluci; great food, nice service, Bob Marley and Fela usually coming out of the speakers. And some serious Injera! Very sour, indeed.

                  Sourdough starters are yeast based! They are cultivated from wild yeasts from the environment the starter exists within. So every part of the world has yeasts naturally in the air. In Belgium they are fortunate to have some fine yeast for brewing beer. Here in northern California, our local yeast is world renowned for its sourdough potential. All yeasts are not created equal. Nor are Ethiopian restaurants and Injera. From what i have noticed, the more sour the injera, the spicier and more interesting is the food.
                  Perhaps the places with sweeter injera are trying to americanize their food and bringing it down some notches on all other taste levels as well.

          • Re: Ethiopian Food

            Mon, January 19, 2009 - 8:03 AM
            I worked with someone from Eritrea. His wife made injera every day using Teff. It tasted like a light barley flavor. He brought dishes of layered injera with a lentil stew. It was quite tasty.
    • Re: Ethiopian Food

      Thu, December 13, 2007 - 5:37 PM
      "the rye/barley bread and he was convinced that he knew why all the Ethiopians are so tastes like kack."

      That's because it's supposed to be made with keff and barley instead of rye. But keff is nearly impossible to get here.
  • Re: Ethiopian Food

    Mon, December 10, 2007 - 10:07 AM
    here are a couple of recipes I've tried; can't remember where they were from -- probably one of those websites listed above. I usually just use store bought injera since we conveniently have an Ethipoian grocery store in the neighbourhood.

    Ethiopian Chickpea Wat Recipe

    6 servings

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 large red onion, finely chopped
    2 carrots, finely chopped
    1 potato, peeled and chopped
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    1/2 teaspoon ginger
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon cumin
    1/4 teaspoon cardamom
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    1 1/2 cups water
    1 cup frozen peas, thawed

    Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and potato, cover and cook 10 minutes longer.

    Remove and cover and stir in cayenne, paprika, ginger, salt, pepper, cumin, cardamom and tomato paste. Add chickpeas and water and bring to a boil.

    Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender and the flavor is developed, about 30 minutes, adding a bit more water if needed. About 10 minutes before the stew is ready, stir in green peas and taste to adjust seasonings.

    Ye'abesha Gomen

    Vegetable dishes like this are served on one huge sourdough pancake, called an injeera. The veggies are dolloped on the huge injeera and a breadbasket of smaller injeeras are at hand to be torn into bits so that the veggies can be picked up with it. Can be served hot or cold

    6 servings

    1 lb collard greens
    1 cup red onions (chopped)
    4 medium green peppers, sliced in strips
    2 cups water
    1/2 teaspoon garlic (peeled and chopped)

    Wash collard greens, boil in medium pan until soft.
    Remove from heat, drain, and cut into small pieces. Set aside.
    Wash green peppers, remove seeds, slice lengthwise and set aside.
    In the medium pan, fry onions over a low heat until brown adding a little water to prevent sticking and burning.
    Add collard greens and cook until water disappears.
    Add all the spices and stir gently. One at a time, add the green pepper slices about 10 minutes before removing from heat.
    Serve hot or cold.
  • Re: Ethiopian Food

    Fri, January 11, 2008 - 11:52 AM
    Thank you for all of these ideas here. I got a few cookbooks over the past couple of weeks and have been experimenting a lot, especially with garbanzo bean flour. Looking for Bu' Techa recipes (the 'scrambled egg' dish discussed above), I found some really great ones. This is the one I've been using, which I've modified the heck out of from the book I found to compensate for my various allergies to spices, and my girlfriends dislike of onions. This recipe and method is mine, and isn't reflective of how it is probably supposed to be prepared culturally.

    2 cups chickpea flour
    1 cup water
    1/4 cup berebere seasoning (you can find the blend recipe online. I bought a pre-mix from because I love their spices, and they had a blend that did not include things I was allergic to)
    salt to taste
    chopped onion or chopped bell pepper or combination of both, recipe calls for 1 cup, I use whatever I have.

    Mix berebere powder and chickpea flour together with salt. I use about a quarter teaspoon. Mix in water. I add about a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of oil in this to make cleaning the pan easier- chickpea flour is like cement when cooked like this, and the oil helps. You can omit this if you like. Place on stove in a small sauce pan and simmer. The recipe book I got it out of says for 10 minutes, but I haven't gone more than 5 minutes of simmer time. It gets really gloopy, and almost solid. If you went ten minutes, you most likely would have a large glob of flour. That woudl work too, but I'm okay with how I do this.

    While the paste is simmering, sautee the onion/bell pepper in some oil. If you are using onion, cook until lightly browned. Bell peppers, cook how you want them to be (I like them slightly crunchy, my girlfriend likes them soft.) Add chickpea paste to this, and sautee for a few minutes, until fully cooked all the way through. You will want to keep 'crumbling' the mass, like you would if it were scrambled eggs that were clumping together. I've not gotten good enough to tell by site with the berebere added, it gets darker, and it tastes different. If you taste the chickpeas and they taste 'green' or like raw chickpea flour, keep cooking. This is kind of important, as it just doesn't taste as good until it is all cooked through. Add oil as you see fit- I don't use a whole lot, just enough to keep it from sticking. The recipe I used to start off with asked for a 1/2 cup of oil- way to much if you ask me.

    I'm allergic soy, so I was very excited to try this out. Since then, I've really expanded my use of chickpea flour, using it in french toast recipes and such. It's a great alternative for flavor and texture (though it isn't a good egg sub in baking!)

    Thanks again for the nudge to ethiopean.
    • Re: Ethiopian Food

      Sat, December 20, 2008 - 10:25 AM
      Thanks for the great spice link. Here's a recipe for berbere, if you want to make your own:

      * 1/2 cup ground red pepper (cayenne)
      * 1/3 cup paprika
      * 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
      * 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
      * 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
      * 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      * 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
      * 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
      * 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      * 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
      * 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

      1. Preheat oven to 300F.
      2. In a cake pan, mix the spices well (be careful not to inhale).
      3. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent scorching.
      4. Watch carefully, and stir the spices more often during the last 10 minutes.
      5. Cool and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Re: Ethiopian Food

    Fri, January 11, 2008 - 11:53 AM
    The cookbook I got was this: Exotic Ethiopian Cooking by D. J. Mesfin. It has a lot of meat recipes in it, but does have a lot for Tej (from scratch!) as well as other alcoholic beverages and such.
  • Re: Ethiopian Food

    Fri, January 11, 2008 - 7:44 PM
    Wow I am sooo glad that someone started a thread about this. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ethiopian food, and my boyfriend generally does not. Buut! I think it might be because the Ethiopian places we have in SF are just not THAT good. For a long time now I have been wanting to try to cook Ethiopian myself and I think that now is the time.....I see a trip to Rainbow in my future...
    • Unsu...

      Re: Ethiopian Food

      Sun, January 13, 2008 - 11:18 PM
      Soooooo happy to see this thread,not only do i love love love ethiopian food i seem to crave it... definitely up there as a favorite food category, along with indian and thai.. yummie !! excited to experiment with the wonderful recipes you have all left. Thanks ;o)
  • Re: Ethiopian Food

    Fri, January 9, 2009 - 10:48 AM
    I love Ethiopian food also and would love to learn to make it. We have a couple of restaurants around the Dallas area that are very good! I always order the vegetarian plate that has a variety of choices.
  • Re: Ethiopian Food

    Thu, October 27, 2011 - 1:50 PM
    Ian Finn's "Ethiopian-inspired Cooking" is all vegetarian, it's pretty widely available. You can also use other cookbooks and riff off of them, since E. food has lots of veg dishes. For substitutions you have to realize a few things: many of the plants used to season the food do not grow outside of Ethiopia, such as "false" basil, "false inset" /banana, etc. So you have to make your peace with substs. But my friend in Ethiopia says that is true there as well- you cannot always go to the store and buy what you need, so when sorghum is in season, u will make sorghum bread, when chickpea flour available, u use that, etc. The point is cooking is flexible/ adaptative. So shoot for tradition, but have fun and experiment too, It is a great cuisine, you will eat and enjoy so much. There are a lot of weak recipes on the internet though, goto a restaurant and get a sense of what true flavor is so u can weed out the feebler attempts.
  • Re: Ethiopian Food

    Fri, October 28, 2011 - 7:12 PM
    Oh yeah for this post my next article was going to be on Ethiopian Food. I feel in love with it when I was on vacation in Seattle this year.
    • Re: Ethiopian Food

      Sun, October 30, 2011 - 7:01 PM
      Aleecha (Alitcha?)

      1/2 cup onion, sliced
      10 clv garlic, sliced thin
      2 cup carrots, sliced thin
      1 cup water
      3 tbl corn oil
      1 tsp turmeric, ground
      1 x fresh hot green peppers, halved, to 3 peppers
      1 lb cabbage, coarsely sliced
      1 tsp queman, see note
      1 tbl tomato paste
      1 tsp salt, to taste
      1 lb potatoes, cut like French

      In dry pan over moderate low heat, stir fry onion, garlic, and carrots for 2 mins. Add 1/2 cup of the water and cook 5 mins longer. Add the oil and continue to simmer.

      Add the turmeric, chilies, and cabbage. Cover the pan and steam to reduce the bulk for 2 mins. Stir well and add the quemam, tomato paste, salt and the potatoes.
      Cover the pan and cook for 5 mins. Add the remaining water and simmer for 5 minutes more to soften the potatoes and thicken the sauce somewhat. Serve at room temperature with Injeera.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Ethiopian Food

    Sun, March 4, 2012 - 2:07 PM
    it takes too many ethopians to make a filling meal. They don't cook up well.

    Back when George Harrison was trying to raise money for food for ethiopa and everybody's image of ethiopans was of starving babies flies all over dyinf people's faces and fammine everywhere, i saw an ethopian restautant in CA and wondered if it was someone's idea of a really bad joke. Never got that image out of my head.

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