Jenny Eat World #2 — Ethiopian

Image by Marco Torrazzina from Pixabay

Ethiopian might be my favorite cuisine. I could inhale a platter of kitfo with ayib in about three seconds. A little doro wot, a little gomen, and I’m pleased as punch.

However, I’m lazy af, as mentioned before. By starting this project, I already failed in the traditional sense; injera takes 7 days to make properly, and they must be cooked one at a time. Even the one-day recipe, laid out in Ethiopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa by Yohanis Gebreyesus, is a delicate thing. I have enough trouble making perfectly golden and fluffy American pancakes. Once I finally get them right, those first few are cold by the time I sit down. So I opted not to make injera, though not for lack of love.

Standout dishes were azifa, (lentil salad with mustard, duplicated with attribution by Montreal Gazette and pictured above left); foselia (green beans and carrots, above center, by recipezazz), minchet abish, a minced beef dish loaded with fenugreek and a touch of tej; misir wot (spiced lentils) and potato-carrot alicha. The best of them, ye habesha enqulal (scrambled eggs with spiced beef, above right, from SBS), was so outstanding, I inhaled it in seconds, wishing I’d bought enough ingredients for an entire week.

It’s been a minute since I returned the stack of Ethiopian cookbooks to the library, and still I think about the recipe for smoked milk, wondering how I could have made that in my tiny kitchen without setting off the smoke alarms. A quick google tells me it’s not sold in stores, at least not around here.

Speaking of laziness, I tend to eyeball spices when I cook. I can’t be arsed to measure little pinches of this and that. Big mistake when it comes to berbere. Hat tip to Penzey’s: they do not simplify their blends to appeal to a mass customer base. My eyes glowed for days after polishing off the last of the minchet abish. Meanwhile, my Ethiopian readership waggles its finger at me. “Probably should have made the injera.” Live and learn.

Unfortunately, two of my three favorite Ethiopian restaurants have closed up shop. But my go-to is still going strong! If you’re ever in the area, stop by Demera on the corner of Broadway & Lawrence (0.3 miles north of the Red Line at Wilson).

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Jennifer Worrell

Jennifer Worrell

If Jennifer were to make a deal with the Devil, she’d ask to live — in good health — just until she’s finished reading all the books.