Truth.... isn't it strange?

" Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities . Truth isn't "

Mark Twain

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ethiopian recipe

So... back to recipes. I had a request for the ethiopian food. so here goes . Lots to say . I love this food. After making it for the last 30 years.... a bit of interest..... I read in the book "The Blue Nile"  written by a national geographic photographer, that Ethiopian cuisine is the single most indigenous food in the world, due to the fact that the country had never been invaded until Mussolini in the 40's . The reason being the Blue Nile wraps itself around the core of the country  , no bridges and very large crocodiles kept invaders out.

The friends and relatives I learned to cook from are Christian Ethiopians and follow a diet that is restricted like the jewish diet in that they do not eat pork , shell fish and do not think of eating wild game. Only domesticated cattle. Lots of chicken , beef, lamb. Here are some very basic recipes everyone loves.

Kaya - wut:       kaya -( beef )    wut- ( red pepper sauce )

Saute 1 hour, in 3 or 4 quart sauce pan:

2 large onions- diced fine
2-3 tablespoons oil
enough water to keep from browning
Add and simmer 1/2 hour
2-3  lbs lean beef, cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
2-4 Tbsp Ber-Ber ( ethiopian red pepper spice combination ) . I get mine from relatives but you might be able to get some from an ethnic store or restaurant. If not this is what goes into it. I grind these spices finely in my palm as I add them :

Cayenne pepper ( powdered )
nutmeg ( a pinch )
Paprika ( enough to give a dark rich color to the sauce )

It all depends on how spicy you like this but remember that when you partake , it is lessoned by the cheese you eat it with and the bread ( injera) so I like a lot.

Add 3 Tablespoons of clarified butter and let this simmer for an hour or two . You will see the richness of the color come out. It deepens like a nice chili sauce.

Cheese: 4 quarts buttermilk

Just put in a heavy 5 quart stew pot and heat on medium low. Do not boil. heat as though you are scalding milk. Do not stir , ever!! let it slowly simmer,( again no bubbling) Until it puffs up and becomes satiny smooth. The middle is the last to get done. Of course the outer edges get firm first and feel a little drier. The whey separates and the milk becomes firm . After it has all firmed up ..... it feels soft but firm like a baked custard..... take a fine screen strainer and put it in your sink in a stable position and turn the cheese into the strainer while letting the whey run through. I try to pour the whey away from the cheese so it doesn't disrupt the cheese too much. You should have a nice sized ( about the size of a cantaloup ) ball of cheese in the strainer. Turn the strainer from side to side and let the water run out. Do this for several minutes till dry. transfer into a covered dish and break it into pieces so it looks kind of like feta cheese. Cover and refridge . Serve on the side with any of the hot red pepper dishes.


In blender:  water first and then the flours, blend on high
4 cups water
2 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 cup teff flour ( buy at a specialty store , you may have to search for this depending on where you live)

Add or subtract as much flour (self rising) as you need to give the batter a thin crepe batter texture. Use a non-stick electric skillet ( I have one reserved for Injera )
turn on 325 degrees and pour at least 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup of batter on one side of pan and quickly slant pan so batter covers the bottom. Let cook till it no longer looks wet and the edges curl , it should have thousands of bubbles so if you held it up you would be able to see them from the other side slightly. You only cook on one side and then remove gently using your hands ( it is stronger than it looks and you can lift on one side without it breaking ) . lay out on a clean cotton cloth . repeat process letting each cool thoroughly before stacking on plate.

I'll try to post more ethiopian recipes next week. Tiring doing all this writing. Please let me know if this works out for you. It would be really great if you can get your hands on the " ber-ber" ( red pepper spice mix)

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