Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Splatgirl's Ethiopian Kitchen

The latest issue of Saveur is just the kind of thing I've been looking for in terms of new and different recipes, with an entire feature on Ethiopian food. The article is great and the recipes all sound fantastic, so despite the fact that I don't think I've eaten Ethiopian food more than once and wasn't even sure if I'd like it, I decided to take the plunge.
Because, as you know, we're all about exploring new realms here at Splatgirl Creates.

I had to start by paying a visit to Penzey's to replenish a few basics and pick up some of the more unusual items I needed to make the staple seasoning mix called Berbere and the spiced butter, Nit'r Qibe, that figure so prominently in Ethiopian dishes. Some of the flavors these recipes call for are fairly mundane, like cinnamon and clove and peppercorns, but new to my spice stash are Nigella seeds, Fenugreek and Black Cardamom pods.

I think I've mentioned that I've been trying to work in a couple of meat-free dinners a week, so when I saw the Lentil Stew (Misr Wot) recipe, I knew it would be first on my list. Sticking to the theme, I also made the Ethiopian flatbread, Injera, that works as both serving and eating utensil, so between that and the butter and spice mix that were needed to go into the stew, the whole meal turned out to be a bit of a project. Completely worth the time, though, and the effort made for delicious and interesting meal. Even Boy, who by his own admission, doesn't usually like "a platefull of weird mush" thought it was yummy enough to go back for seconds.

The side of sauteed spinach was my offhand addition and it turned out to be a fairly good match, tasty either eaten alone to refresh the palette or tucked into a bite of Injera-wrapped stew.

I can definitely see how the spice profile of Ethiopian food could get to be an obsession. It's rich and complex and pungent in the same way that curry is, only completely and utterly different...a good different.

P.S. Did you peek to the right? This:

is in my shop. Get it while it's hot...they've been flying out faster than I can make them!


OMG!! That's totally the fabric for my nursery. Only I got the green based one.

Hm.... How much would you charge if I sent you the fabric to make on up? I think my hubby needs a "boy" diaper bag. :)

Hit me up!
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