Yes! It’s contest time! Let me give you a bit of back story on my experience with Ethiopian food. When I say ‘experience’, it really is what I mean. We were in Washington D.C., and had an Ethiopian taxi driver. We’d wanted to try Ethiopian food for a long time and were chatting with our driver about the best local restaurants. With our communication challenges, he never got the vegan thing, but he did suggest 2 of the restaurants that were on our ‘vegan-friendly’ list. We opted for Meskerem in the Adams Morgan area. Walking into the restaurant was like walking through a portal. The first thing to hit you is the aroma. It was enticing. Our server carefully ran through the menu with us and we opted for a platter. After two bites, we were hooked. As a plus, eating with you hands has never tasted so good.
And didn’t have Ethiopian food again until this last spring. We were vacationing in Vermont with our dear friends, Liz and Matthew. Liz managed to find a restaurant that served Ethiopian food on Tuesday nights. The food was just as wonderful as our first time, and we were even more fascinated than before.
Then came Kittee Berns’ incredible zine, Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian. I’ve been a fan of Kittee’s for a long time, and if you’re not already, you will be soon. This zine is packed with all the flavor you’d hope from Ethiopian cuisine and a big surprise: it’s gluten-free!
We started with the Ethiopian version of Mac ‘n’ Cheesie. Since we’re not gluten-free, I used regular pasta, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. And loved it. Following Kittee’s suggestion, we served it with ye’abesha gomen, made with chard. I have 3 words for you: best greens ever.
From there, we went for a platter-style meal. Since I didn’t have the urad dal for the injera fake-outs, I made my own from a combo of online recipes. Most importantly, it used some sourdough starter and fermented for 3 days. So we started off with a great base, in spite of the fact that many of them tore because I had stacked them. We had the Best Greens Ever (of course), red lentils in a spicy gravy (p. 55), mushroom tibs (p. 47), and my own version of salata (from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day.). We loved this dinner and it hit all the same notes that dining out had. Kittee really worked some magic into this zine. I could go on and on, but this is already a long post. This is a gem that is packed full of info as well as incredible recipes.
Let me give you a couple of tips, if you happen to have this zine or are the lucky winner.
1. Make the full recipe of the nitter kibbeh. You’ll use it.
2. Kittee says it, but I’m saying it, too. Know your berebere whether it’s homemade or store-bought.
Here’s your chance! Comment on this post telling me one of your favorite Ethnic dishes. Since we’re talking world food, international entries are welcome. Next week, I’ll use random.com to pick one winner. Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian could be yours! Good luck!
12/22/11 – the winner is Ashley, #22! Congratulations. I will email you so I can pop this in the mail to you.