I've fallen helplessly for the intense heat, spices and unusual textures of Ethiopian food, which I first discovered when living in North London.
This feast consists of a selection of traditional Ethiopian dishes included Tibs (an aromatic beef casserole), Misir Wot (a lentil stew), spiced collard greens, and a tomato salad with jalapeños called Timatim. You don't have to make all of these dishes as this can be time-consuming, however Ethiopian cooking is all about the marriage of different flavours not disimilar to the concept of 'mezze' in Middle Eastern cuisine. Many Ethiopian dishes are vegetarian or vegan, relying on the complexity of pulses, legumes and robust vegetables.
All of the above dishes can be served with Injera bread (pictured) which can be purchased at Ethiopian restaurants or rice. Made of teff flour Injera is slighty sour and with a sourdough-like texture. When covered in steaming spicy casserole, the bread absorbs all those lovely juices and is utterly transformed.
Berbere spice is an absolute must-have for almost all Ethiopian dishes, so if you're planning on making some if not all this dishes I would recommend stocking up for starters. Bart's version is the most widely available and of great quality.
TIBS (Serves 6)
125ml vegetable oil
3 yellow onions, peeled and diced finely
3 tbsp berbere spice
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 kg beef braising steak, diced into small cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 inch knob ginger, minced, about 2 tbsp
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
About 125ml red wine
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 medium tomatoes, cut into eighths
2 green chilies, sliced lengthwise into 4 pieces
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the sliced onions. Fry until softened and translucent – about 10 minutes.
Add the berbere and chopped tomatoes to the onions and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Add the diced beef, minced garlic, ginger and 2 sprigs of rosemary and cook until all the water has been absorbed. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes; if the stew looks dry, add a little water. Cook the stew for around 40 minutes, keep bubbling away until the beef begins to soften and become tender.
Add the kibe or butter. Season with salt, and simmer 5 minutes for the flavours to meld.
Add the fresh tomato, green chili and remaining 2 sprigs of rosemary. Cook until the tomatoes have just softened – about 5 minutes. Serve with injera or rice.
MISIR WOT (Serves 6)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, very finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Roma tomato, very finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp bebere
200g red lentils, rinsed
300ml of chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp of salt
Melt 3 tbsp of butter in a medium stock pot. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and 1 tbsp of the berbere and cook for 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat if needed to prevent burning.
Add the stock and salt, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer the lentils, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes (adding more broth if needed) or until the lentils are soft.
Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and berbere. Simmer for a couple more minutes. Add salt to taste.
3-4 large tomatoes diced
1/2 red onion finely diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers de-seeded and chopped finely
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 or two garlic cloves minced
2 tsp of berbere
Mix all the ingredients for the salad together in a bowl. In another bowl combine the dressing ingredients and whisk together. Pour over the salad veggies and refrigerate.
SPICED COLLARD GREENS
500g of collard, spring greens or rainbow chard- make sure to remove the hard stems and chop into strips
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 large white onion chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tsp of berbere
1 tsp of ground cumin
1-2 Fresh chili pepper or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more
1 fresh lemon
In a large skillet/wok , add the oil, garlic, ginger, chili pepper, cumin, berbere, corriander, paprika, sauté for about 30 seconds or more, be careful not to let the ingredients burn.
Then add onions, mix with the spices. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes.
Throw in chopped collards, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, Continue cooking for another 7-10 minutes until flavors have blend and greens are cooked, according to preference. Adjust the seasoning –Salt and pepper, turn off the heat.
Remove from the heat and cool before serving.