The Recipes Of Ethiopia

Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is one of the world's oldest nations. It is also the second oldest country to become officially Christian and 61% of the population are Christian today. Its capital, Addis Abbaba is also the headquarters for the African Union.

The country is also very diverse in terms of terrain ranging from the high Semien and Bale mountain ranges to one of the lowest regions on the continent, the Danakil depression. There are also deserts along the eastern border and tropical forests to the south.

Ethiopian cuisine, like the country's population is very diverse. Yet, almost uniquely to Africa it's also almost wholly native. Indeed, Ethiopian cuisine is one of the most unique of all international cuisines and the local spice mix, berbere, predominates and is used in almost every dish.

Most meals are based on the local flat bread, Indera (recipe below) which is typically torn and used to scoop the main stew dish from a communal vessel.

Below is a recipe for Injera and a classic Ethiopian stew to accompany it.

Injera Recipe

380g un-bleached while flour
100g self-raising flour
50g whole-wheat bread flour
1 packet dry yeast
600ml warm water
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all the flour and the yeast in a large bowl. Add the warm water and combine until you have a smooth, fairly thin, batter. Let the mixture stand for a full three days at room temperature stirring once a day. (it should noticeably bubble and rise.)

When ready to make the Injera add the baking soda and salt and let the batter sit for 15 minutes. Heat a small non-stick (about 22cm) frying pan to the point where a drop of water bounces on the pan's surface. Then take about 160ml of the batter and pour it quickly into the pan. Swirl the pan so that the entire bottom is evenly coated. Return immediately to the heat.

When all the moisture has evaporated and lots of 'eyes' have appeared on the surface remove the injera. (This bread is cooked on only one side and it should not be browned). Allow the injera to cool then stack them as you go along.

If the first bread is undercooked, add a little less mixture to the pan and cook for a little longer. Make sure, however, that you do not over-cook as you should be able to roll injera up.

Siga Wot (Ethiopian Beef Stew)

3 large onions, chopped
3 tbsp corn oil
3 tbsp chilli chow-chow
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
500ml water
650g stewing steak, cut into 1.5cm cubes

Fry the onions in a dry pan over medium heat until they soften (about 4 minutes) then add the oil and fry for 1 minute. Add the chow-chow and the tomato paste and continue to fry for a minute. Add a quarter of the water and the salt. Stir to combine then add the beef cubes and the remaining water. Cover the pan and allow to simmer for 45 minutes (or until the beef is tender). Serve warm spooned over white rice or with injera.

I hope that you enjoy these Ethiopian recipes, part of a traditional Ethiopian meal, and that you now want to learn more about Ethiopian cuisine.

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About The Author, Gwydion
Dyfed Lloyd Evans is the creator of the Celtnet Recipes site, where you can find many more Ethiopian foods and Recipes as part of his East African Recipes collection.