Secret Kitchen menu, 22nd February 2014

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an Ethiopian dinner


Tej  (honey wine)

Lamb tibs with awaze (chilli sauce)


Misir wat (spicy lentils), kuk alicha (mild split peas),

beetroot & carrots, azifa (green lentil dip), karia (green chillies)


Doro wat (chicken stew), minchet abish (minced beef with fenugreek),

shiro (spiced pulse puree), duba alicha (mild pumpkin stew),

ayib be gomen (cottage cheese with spinach)


Ethiopian affogato


Tonight's dinner

I have been lucky enough to go to Ethiopia twice over the last few years (pics here and here), where I have been hosted by my kind friends Nebiat and Laura, who live in Awassa with their two sons Kaleb and Ezana (pictured above, refusing to eat lunch).  Awassa is a fantastic spot for a relaxing lakeside holiday, and having spent a few days hanging out there ("consulting") I can highly recommend Hi-Life Bar & Grill, run by Nebiat's brother Yonas. 

Nebiat's mother, Egigayeu, is a formidable cook and many of tonight's recipes are thanks to several days cooking and eating with her in her home in Addis Ababa.  Thank you Egigayeu!

Ethiopian food divides into fasting food (vegan) and non fasting food, which is full of spiced butter, beef (often raw) and, for special occasions, chicken.  Over half the days in the Ethiopian Christian calendar are fasting days, when shiro and other pulse dishes are commonly eaten with the staple 'bread' - injera.

I have attempted to make most things myself from scratch, including spiced butter (with special spices brought back from Ethiopia), cottage cheese, berbere spice mix and doro wat (4kg of finely diced onions per chicken).  I tried and failed to make tej, so that and the injera come from my local Ethiopian restaurant at Finsbury Park, Hamer.  Tej is honey wine, most famously made in Lalibela where I received a full lesson.  Injera is made from teff, a grain indigenous to Ethiopia, high in iron and gluten free.

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Culinary Anthropologist