This is a first for me – cooking an entire meal in one post, rather than just one recipe at a time. For some reason, I was just really jazzed up about doing an authentic Ethiopian dinner tray. Well, as authentic as I can be given my limited equipment!
Yesterday, my mother-in-law asked me to take her to the Kukulu Market which sells injera made with teff flour. We think it’s the best tasting injera – and it’s gluten free. I picked up a couple of packages, knowing that one is never enough. Many restaurants will serve a version of injera using other types of flours. And although they are okay, I don’t think they taste nearly as good as 100% teff injera. Ask for teff injera at the restaurant and compare for yourself. And prepare to pay a bit more. It’s worth it.
In case you’re wondering, injera is a thin, spongy, sourdough bread that is used both as a serving plate and as a replacement to utensils – simply rip off a piece of injera and use it to grab a bite of anything on the serving tray. Then after all of the mounds of food are cleaned off the injera “plate”, pick up the injera soaked with the juices of whatever dish was on top of it and enjoy that as well.
Probably the most popular Ethiopian dish is Doro W’at (doro = chicken, w’at or w’et = stew). It’s usually made with hard boiled eggs. The foundation of the dish is berbere – a combination of spices that is truly unique, with a rich, smoky, deep flavor that is out-of-this-world delicious. Here’s a recipe for a homemade version of berbere in case you can’t find it at the market. I decided to see whether berbere would flavor tofu as well as chicken, and I was more than pleased with how it turned out. Tasted just like the restaurant version!
My favorite Ethiopian side dishes are yellow lentils and collard greens. Since I had a big bunch of kale in the fridge, I swapped that out for collards. Traditionally, the greens are boiled, but I just couldn’t do that to my kale. Instead, I sautéed it with onions, fresh ginger and cinnamon. Quite delish! And I added lemon juice and mustard to the lentils for a nice twang that complements the sourdough-like taste of the injera.
This didn’t take nearly as long to prepare as I expected – the whole things was done in about 45 minutes. Of course, I didn’t make the injera from scratch. I’m saving that project for another day. If you happen to live near an Ethiopian market or restaurant, pick up a package or two of injera and give these exotic-tasting dishes a try. You’ll be quite happy you did!
It’s time to announce the winners of the two copies of Eat Clean, Stay Lean by the Editors of Prevention with Wendy Bazilian, DRPH, RD. I was highly scientific in my approach to selecting the winners — I placed everyone’s name in a paper sack, shook it up, and pulled two out. And the winners are…….drum roll, please…….LM Kent and Eileen! Thanks to everyone for your participation, and thank you to Rodale for providing copies of these books to giveaway! Winners, I will contact you by email shortly. Thanks, again!
Tofo W’at Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)
2 package teff injera (about 6 sheets)
1 package extra firm tofu – cut into ½ inch cubes
2 cups sweet onion – finely diced
¼ cup berbere
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon fresh ginger – I used a microplane to finely grate it
1 teaspoon fenugreek powder
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons oil – I used coconut oil
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
Lemon Mustard Lentils Ingredients
½ cup dried yellow lentils – washed and rinsed
½ tablespoon garlic – finely chopped
½ tablespoon fresh ginger
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed powder
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
Ginger-Cinnamon Kale Ingredients
1 bunch curly kale – about 6 large leaves washed, thick stems removed and torn into 1 – 2 inch pieces
½ cup onion – large dice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh ginger – grated using a microplan
1 tablespoon oil – I used coconut oil
1. Start by preparing the Lemon Mustard Lentils. Place all of the lentil ingredients, except the lemon, in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent sticking or burning. Cook until the lentils are done and retain their shape, but are not mushy. Then add in the lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from the burner, cover and let rest.
2. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the Tofu W’at. Place the onion, berbere, cardamom, powdered garlic, ginger, fenugreek and oil in a non-stick wok or frying pan. Cook the onions for 5 – 7 minutes until they soften. Then add in the tofu and vegetable broth and stir until everything is well mixed. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and let cook for 20 – 25 minutes to allow the liquid to thicken and flavor the tofu. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning. When finished, the sauce should cling to the back of a wooden spoon. When finished, salt to taste. Some berbere spice mixes already have salt included.
3. While the Tofu W’at is cooking, prepare the kale side dish. Place the oil, ginger and cinnamon in a non-stick skillet and heat until the oil is infused with the spices. Then add in the onions and sauté for 5 – 7 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Then add in the kale, stir, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat to low and let cook for 7 – 10 minutes until the kale is well-cooked, but not completely limp.
4. To serve, lay a sheet of injera over a large, round tray. Place dollops of all three dishes all over the injera. Serve with the additional injera sheets on a side tray. Serve hot immediately.