When you taste the combination of injera, with meat and vegetables, you’ll be in love!
What is Ethiopian food? The first thing you have to know about the cuisine is the staple, known as injera. Injera is sort of like a spongy pancake, but it’s airy and made from an ancient grain known as teff. This grain is really only used in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and apart being eaten by Ethiopians and Eritreans, it’s not eaten by really any others around the world. Anyway, the teff flour is ground into a flour, made into a batter, and then fried into a huge circular pancake.
When you eat Ethiopian food in Ethiopia, you are always served on a large platter that is first covered by a huge circle of injera that coats the bottom of the pan. You can then order whatever sort of dishes you want, either meat based dishes or vegetarian curries, and they will be dumped into the middle of your injera. Ethiopian cuisine is communally eaten, so whoever you are eating with, you share the same communal plate with them. In this particular video, I was eating alone, as my wife had already eaten, so I polished off the entire thing myself.
Tipped off an article from Addis Eats (http://addiseats.com/2013/03/19/its-that-time-of-year-again/), I decided to go out one day in Addis Ababa to an area of town known as Chechnia to eat at a restaurant known as Grand Restaurant. It took a while to find, but we eventually stepped into the restaurant. The front is more of a dark room and a bar, but if you continue to the back of the Ethiopian restaurant you’ll find a kind of makeshift table and chair area that’s sort of like a canopy. The roof of the restaurant is covered in Ethiopian traditional paintings like coffee ceremonies and livestock. At Grand Restaurant you sort of eat what’s available for the day. I ordered the meat mahberawi, which is basically a platter of injera topped with whatever meat and veg dishes are available that particular day.
For this Ethiopian food meal, my mahberawi included key wat, a spicy Ethiopian beef curry, another curry that included potatoes, shiro wat, and an amazing tomato salad. The key wat was absolutely amazing, full of berbere spices and with just the right amount of oil so it was amazing but not overly greasy. The shiro wat, a stew made from ground chickpeas flour mixed with berbere spices and Ethiopian butter, was one of the best I had in my entire time in Ethiopia. Shiro wat is one of the most popular Ethiopian food dishes, and at Grand restaurant it is amazing. Finally, the tomato salad was also excellent to go with the other curries. The mix included slices tomatoes and onions seasoned with lemon juice, jalapenos, and a touch of salt and pepper. After polishing off all the dishes on the first round, I was still hungry so I decided to order another bowl full of the key wat, but this time I think it was lamb… though I’m not totally sure? Anyway, that drumstick of meat was excellent, the meat literally slid off the bone with ease and the flavor was outstanding.
Ethiopian food is an amazing cuisine in the world, and if you ever have the chance to eat it, you should take it. Don’t miss out on the amazing flavors of Ethiopia!
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