Cooking / Make It Monday

The Third Make It Monday

This past week was extremely difficult, so I didn’t get any sewing done. I did, however, make some progress on my garden.

I also cooked up a storm. I absolutely love Ethiopian food. Pages & pages could be written detailing my love for Ethiopian cuisine, but I won’t bore you. Despite how much I enjoy cooking, I’ve been a bit apprehensive about learning to cook Ethiopian.

I have a wheat intolerance & most American companies add wheat to their spice mixes without listing it as an ingredient. Yes, you can add a substantial amount of something- like 1T wheat flour per can of beans- and not list it as an ingredient. Bullshit, anyone? You can see where it would be scary to try new spices or to even eat at a restaurant.

However, I thought I’d gamble on getting berbere spice mix (the Ethiopian equivalent of what garam masala is to Indian food) from a local Ethiopian grocery store (more of a hole in the wall pantry filled with hard-to-find ingredients). I reasoned that when you’re buying from a store run by immigrants, they’re used to eating the real thing & are less likely to want to eat something that’s been watered down. Their fellow immigrant customers are also probably less likely to patronize a store selling inferior products. It would be like a native Italian eating microwave pasta meals- it’s hardly anything that resembles the good food you grew up on.

I’m glad I took the risk.  It was supremely worth it. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures- that’s what can happen when you’re so excited  you forget about documentation. I could show you pictures of dirty skillets instead.

Anyways, I made some of my favorites, which were also very easy: yemisir wat & shiro. These dishes can be spelled a number of ways & a quick google search will give you many recipes that are basically the same. Yemisir wat is a spicy red lentil dish, the flavors of which seem too complex to recreate.  Shiro is made of ground chickpeas. All that’s needed to get the complex flavors is a bit of pre-made spice mix. Super easy. Sautee onions, add berbere, add legumes & varying amounts of water, eat, bask in the fatastic flavors. The simplicity seems a bit unreal.

I hope you experiment with some Ethiopian cuisine too. It really is a treat, aside from being a nice change-up from the food you might normally eat. Have any of you made Ethiopian? What are your favorite dishes & do you have any tips for this novice Ethiopian chef?

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