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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera

Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera alicha wat berbere mekelesha mitmita



Much like the various Masala Spice Powders of India, I enjoy learning about the various spice mixes in cuisines around the world.


Having made Ethiopian foods for nearly a dozen years now, my go-to reference has been Exotic Ethiopian Cooking by D.J. Mesfin.

While the book does not have gorgeous food photos, and the instructions are somewhat loose, I like the Society, Culture, Hospitality & Traditions explained in the introduction, as well as the cooking methods and general tips for "doing it right".

And, nothing beats tasting the foods at Ethiopian restaurants and getting a feel for its flavors and presentation.

The three main spice mix that I like to use are Mitmita, Mekelesha, and, of course, the most popular Berbere, which can be made into a paste rather than a powdery spice mix.

Mitmita is fiery hot spice mix that uses super hot chilies, along with the warmth and comfort of cardamom and cloves. A small dash of this goes a long way in stews/wats.



Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera alicha wat berbere mekelesha mitmita


Mekelesha, made with a blend of 7 spices, reminds me of a combination of my favorite South Indian Sambar powder and Northeast Indian Panch Phoron spices. A combination of cumin, Indian cinnamon, cardamom, long pepper (aka pippili), nigella, ajwain/caraway, cloves and nutmeg bring a rich confluence of aroma and flavors to this mix.



Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera alicha wat berbere mekelesha mitmita



Berbere, the staple Ethiopian spice mix, is not necessarily a set-in-stone recipe, much like the Sambar and Rasam powders of South India or the Garam masala and Curry powder that are popular all over India. The bright red color from paprika, plus, some chili powder, nigella, ajwain, fenugreek all add up to a fantastic base to flavor many of the Ethiopian dishes that accompany the soft and spongy injeras.


Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera alicha wat berbere mekelesha mitmita



Every once in a while, I get these as ready-made mixes from Ethiopian store nearby, where I am told it is sold fresh in small batches so they don't sit on the shelf and grow stale. If I run out of store-bought, I make my own, and for sure each batch comes out a bit different from the previous one, and that's okay as I vary the proportions and don't measure out exactly anyway.


Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera alicha wat berbere mekelesha mitmita



For a weekend dinner, Injera with a few sides is quite a satisfying spread. I went with 5 easy sides, along with Yedagussa Injera which is typically made with millet flour, but this time I did equal parts millet + all purpose flour.

Though Injeras are usually made with tef flour, they can be made with chickpea flour, buckwheat, millet, rye, spelt flours, even corn and rice flours. The consistency of the finished pancake will differ in texture and thickness, of course.


Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera


Pretty much all of these recipes below are already shared in this blog over the years, so, am just linking to those. Of course, each time, I vary the proportions a bit and the dish comes out just a bit different and that is fine.


Yekik Alicha: Split Pea Sauce. Only, I used split pigeon peas (aka Tuvar dal, in India)


Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera yekik alicha mesir wat yabesha gomen



Mesir Wat: Lentils stew using Berbere


Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera yekik alicha mesir wat yabesha gomen




Zelbo Gomen: Kale Stew using Mekelesha, cooked much like Y'abesha Gomen


Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera yekik alicha mesir wat yabesha gomen



Yeqey Sir Qiqqil: Boiled Beets in Lemon Vinaigrette


Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera yekik alicha mesir wat yabesha gomen


Ayib BeMit'Mit'a: Spiced Cottage Cheese, using Mitmita



Ethiopian Spiced Stews with Injera ayib bemitmita cottage cheese



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