How to Make Ethiopian Food

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14-01-2018, 11:00
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If you love spicy African food, learn how to cook with classic Ethiopian ingredients. Mix together peppery berbere or mitmita seasoning to give heat to your dishes. You can also stir niter kibbeh, spiced and clarified butter, into meals. Use it in filling stews like wat or sautéed meats like tibs. Serve your Ethiopian foods on injera, large flatbread made from teff flour and finish your meal by drinking hot coffee with a little niter kibbeh stirred into it.

Using Traditional Ingredients

  1. Mix together berbere seasoning. Berbere seasoning is popularly used in Ethiopian cuisine to add spicy heat and flavor to vegetables, grains, wat, or tibs. To make a batch of the seasoning, combine all of the ingredients in a skillet. Stir and heat the spices over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the burner and let the spices cool.
    • Store the berbere seasoning in an airtight container in the pantry. For the best flavor, use the seasoning within 6 months.
    • Stir 1 to 2 teaspoons (2 to 4 g) of the seasoning into any Ethiopian dish.
  2. Heat butter with spices to make niter kibbeh. A few spoonfuls of niter kibbeh is often stirred into wat, spread on bread, and even added to coffee. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and let it cook until foam floats to the top. Skim off the foam and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cook the butter over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes before you strain it through cheesecloth.
    • Discard the solids and transfer the niter kibbeh to an airtight container. Refrigerate the niter kibbeh for up to 1 month.
  3. Toast and grind mitmita seasoning. To make another spicy seasoning that's common in Ethiopian food, toast the chilies in a skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer them to a mortar and toast the cumin seeds for 1 to 2 minutes. Add these to the mortar and add the rest of the ingredients. Use the pestle to combine and grind the seasoning.
    • Store the mitmita seasoning in an airtight container at room temperature. For the most flavor, use the seasoning within 6 months.
  4. Cook with niger seeds. Ethiopian food is frequently prepared using niger seed oil because it has a high smoke point and light flavor. Cook beans, legumes, or vegetables with a few tablespoons of niger seed oil. If you have niger seeds, add them to cereals or porridge (kinche) for a little crunch.
    • Niger seed is also called nug.

Creating Traditional Dishes

  1. Stew meat with onion and spices to make wat. Sauté diced onions in berbere or mitmita seasoning until they're soft. Add chicken legs or thighs and pour enough water or chicken stock to cover the pieces. Simmer the doro wat for about 1 hour, so the chicken cooks completely and the stew becomes thick.
    • If you don't want to use chicken, use chunks of goat, lamb, fish, or beef).
    • Consider adding vegetables, potatoes or lentils to the wat.
  2. Sauté meat with berbere spice. Cook classic tibs by choosing your choice of meat such as beef, lamb, goat, or chicken. Cut the meat into chunks and sauté it until the meat is tender and browned. You can add niter kibbeh, berbere seasoning, and your favorite vegetables.
  3. Fry injera to serve with the wat. Because Ethiopian food is usually eaten with your hands, stews and meat are served large, thin circles of bread. To make injera, combine teff flour with water and a little salt. Leave the batter to ferment at room temperature overnight. When you're ready to cook them, heat a skillet and pour some of the batter in the bottom. Cook 1 injera until it begins to bubble and is completely dry.
    • You can refrigerate the leftover injera for 1 to 2 days, but it may crumble or break.
  4. Cook a hot, wheat porridge. Cooked porridge, kinche, is a popular Ethiopian breakfast food. Combine the cracked wheat with the water and niter kibbeh or vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Stir and bring the porridge to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep cooking the porridge for 15 to 20 minutes, so the water is absorbed and the wheat softens.
    • You can serve the kinche with savory additions such as spices or onions.
  5. Make basic shiro be kibbe. If you're fasting or looking for vegetarian Ethiopian options, cook legume stew. Create a stew that's with a shiro (powdered chickpeas or legumes) base. Stir in niter kibbe and your choice of minced onions, spices, or intense flavors like ginger, chili peppers, or garlic. Cook your stew until it's thick enough to spread on injera.
  6. Drink coffee with niter kibbeh. Ethiopia is credited as being the birthplace of coffee, so it's no surprise that Ethiopians enjoy coffee throughout the day. For authentic Ethiopian coffee, roast and grind your own beans. Brew enough coffee to serve several people a few small cups. To flavor the coffee, stir a spoonful of niter kibbeh, spiced butter, into each cup or let your guests add sugar or salt.
    • Coffee is often served with popcorn, nuts, or seeds on the side.
  7. Cook and drink atmet. Grind barley with oats and place them in a saucepan. Stir in water, sugar or honey, and some butter. Cook and stir the mixture over low heat for several minutes. The mixture will thicken as the oats and barley cook. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and serve the atmet while it's hot.
    • Atmet is traditionally given to women who are breastfeeding.

Ingredients

Berbere Seasoning

  • 3 tablespoons (22 g) smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons (14 g) paprika
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon (3 g) dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ tablespoon (4 g) cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon (4 g) ground nutmeg
  • ½ tablespoon (5.5 g) fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) cumin
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) cayenne pepper
Makes 2/3 cup (75 g) of seasoning

Niter Kibbeh

  • 1 pound (453 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons (15 g) minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground cumin
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (0.25 to 0.5 g) fresh ginger, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon (0.5 g) grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 g) ground turmeric
  • 5 to 6 fresh basil leaves
Makes 1 cup (115 g) of spiced butter

Mitmita Seasoning

  • 12 bird’s eye chilies
  • 4 teaspoons (8 g) cumin seeds
  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 2 teaspoons (6 g) black peppercorns
  • 4 teaspoons (8 g) ground cinnamon
  • Sea salt to taste
Makes 8 tablespoons (64 g) of seasoning

Kinche (Wheat Porridge)

  • 1 cup (120 g) cracked wheat
  • 4 to 5 cups (946 to 1182 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) niter kibbeh or vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
Makes 4 servings

Things You'll Need

Using Traditional Ingredients

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Spice or coffee grinder
  • Skillet
  • Airtight storage container
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Cheesecloth
  • Saucepan

Creating Traditional Dishes

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large saucepan
  • Skillet
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Fine-mesh strainer
  • Saucepan
  • Spoon
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