As I embark on this new blogging journey, I’m realizing I don’t take nearly enough photos of the delicious meals we make, and the pictures I do take are pretty amateur. To fill the large space at the top of the blog with a pop of color, I dug up a few favorites from the last year or so. A picture is worth a thousand words, so over the next five posts, I’ll share a bit about these savory dinners (and that pile of fruit).
First up, is our Ethiopian spread! While living in Washington, DC, I had my first taste of Ethiopian food. There is a huge Ethiopian community in DC – the largest outside of Africa – and with 30,000 people, there are naturally quite a few great restaurants.
What to expect at an Ethiopian Restaurant
Each restaurant is a bit different, but the one constant is the veggie combo platter. Every restaurant has some variation of this, so you can order a big platter of food and share with the table. Don’t forget to wash your hands, and leave your reservations about sharing food or eating with your hands at the door. The platter comes out with a large piece of injera underneath the food; this is a spongy flatbread made with the gluten-free grain teff. If you have a gluten sensitivity, check with each restaurant – while some may be gluten free, others may use additional flours/grains.
On top of that first piece of injera you’ll find servings of 6-8 veggie and bean dishes, and nearby there will likely be a basket of rolled up injera. This same magical sourdough that served as a plate is also your utensil! Mind your manners, and try to only use your right hand for eating. Rip off a piece of injera, scoop up some of the food closest to you, and enjoy.
My take on some Ethiopian classics
The recipes for the three dishes shown in the picture were all found in Vegan Under Pressure. This cookbook not only demystified the seemingly scary pressure cooker; it also made me fall in love with this kitchen gadget! Since the recipes aren’t my own, I’ll just give you the highlights.
- Misr wot (bottom left): This spicy split red lentil stew is rather simple. Ingredients include onion, garlic, tomato, red lentils, and the dish gets most of its punch from the Ethiopian berbere spice blend.
- Gomen (top): Another straightforward concoction with huge flavor – collard greens, with some red onion, bell pepper, garlic, and some berbere spice blend.
- Atakilt wat (bottom right): This is my favorite of the three! The trio of cabbage, potatoes, carrots is so flavorful. It also has onion, garlic, ginger and spices to really give it a big flavor.
One recipe that wasn’t in the aforementioned cookbook, was for injera. I went to a few grocery stores to find teff, and looked through a few recipes online. I thought I found a winner, so a whipped up the ingredients into a batter, and poured the liquid on to a hot griddle like pancakes. The final product tasted terrible. It was a really strong flavor – almost overpowering, and the consistency was just off. It wasn’t spongy enough, and we were really trying hard to pick up the food with it. After a few failed attempts I tried this recipe:
- Go to nearest Ethiopian restaurant
- Purchase injera
- Return home to enjoy a delicious meal
With three flawless recipes and a bike ride to a restaurant, we had full bellies and happy hearts. If you want to give Ethiopian cooking a try, I can’t recommend this book enough! Use the link below to buy Vegan Under Pressure on Amazon, and support the blog at the same time. Thank you!