I adore Ethiopian food. Ever since I discovered a little spot in SE Portland called Bete Lukas, I have been in love with this cuisine. There’s just something about it – the strange spongy injera bread, the delightful lack of utensils, and of course, the incredibly complex flavors which are unlike any I’ve ever tasted. And bonus of bonuses, Ethiopian food is primarily vegan and exclusively gluten-free!
So anyway, I quickly became an Ethiopian lover, and I spent many a birthday or date night huddled around the table at Bete Lukas, happily soaking up miser wot, shiro, gomen, and tibs with springy strips of injera.
*sigh* I miss that.
YOU GUYS THIS BOOK. This book is amazing. And really, Ethiopian cooking is amazing! I’ve been a bit immersed in it for the past few weeks, and I just keep thinking “The French ain’t got nothing on this!” Okay, perhaps an exaggeration, but truly. Everyone considers French cuisine to be the height of flavor and technique, but man . . . the intricacy that goes into an Ethiopian meal!
Complex doesn’t even begin to describe it. (Complex, yes, but not difficult. It’s a lot of steps but very straightforward, so don’t be intimidated. Plus, it’s WELL worth the work.)
I began my adventure by getting a batch of injera started. Injera is the traditional bread that’s served with Ethiopian food, and it’s sort of like a sourdough crepe made from a very nutritious and high-protein grain, called teff. You all know how much I love my ferments, so setting up a sourdough teff starter was pretty exciting for me. I even made a video on the last day of the process, because I was so proud of my bubbly little beasties!
Once the injera-making went off without a hook (see my excited Instagram that night) I knew this cookbook was a keeper. So from there it was on to ye’wot qimem, an incredibly aromatic spice blend that’s used in a number of dishes.
I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing my kitchen smelled. Every time I came home I was hit with a mouthwatering blast, for DAYS after I made this stuff. So good.
All in all, I’ve made four separate dishes out of Teff Love, not including the injera and the ye’wot qimem.
First up was ye’nech bakela alicha – creamy garlicky white beans in an onion-turmeric sauce (top left in the first photo up there^^). This dish was amazing, smooth and garlicky. It got better each time I ate it, as the flavors continues to merge and steep.
Next up was an old favorite, ye’misser wot – red lentils in a spicy sauce (top right in the first photo). Loads of berbere and perfectly soppy, it balanced so nicely against the crisp fresh salad.
Then came ye’atakilt alicha – stewed cabbage, potatoes, and carrots in a mild sauce (bottom right in the first photo). This was Jeremy’s favorite dish, and probably mine as well. Everything was so perfectly balanced, light yet comforting. Also, really easy to make!
And finally, on a totally last minute whim I threw together some ye’atakilt wot – potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower in a spicy sauce (bottom left in the first photo). I needed an excuse to use more of that delicious ye’wot qimem!
By the end there, I was an old pro at dry salt-sweating the onion, adding the oil and spices, and layering the flavors. These techniques were all new to me but I picked them up pretty quickly, and man, I learned so much! This book is just packed full of tips and tricks, troubleshooting and all sorts of amazing advice. Truly, Kittee went above and beyond.
Alright, so wouldn’t you just love to get your hands on a copy of Teff Love?? I’ll be giving away a copy to one lucky reader (sorry, US residents only), and all you have to do to enter is answer this question in the comments below:
What is your favorite Ethiopian dish, OR, if you’ve never had Ethiopian food, what are you most excited to try?
Remember – I think “like-gating” / “fan-gating” is weird and insincere, and I’ll never make you guys do it.
That being said, the truth is that social media stats are pretty important these days, in blogging as well as in business. So no, I’m not going to require you to “like” me all over the Internet just to enter this giveaway. BUT, if you do like my blog and enjoy the work I do here – and this goes for any blog really – then liking my Facebook page, or following me on Instagram or on Twitter is a great, easy way to help me out. Those numbers really do count for something.
So no, I will never manipulate you into following me as a way to get more entries in this contest. But hey, maybe you appreciate that, and want to follow me just because? Yay! Thank you!
But no coercion. K? ALL you have to do to enter to win a copy of Teff Love, is just leave a comment here, on this post, answering that question above. That’s it!
This giveaway will end on Wednesday 15 April at midnight PST. I’ll contact the winner the next day.
Good luck guys!
♥ ♥ ♥
Congratulations to Gillian, who said:
“I love all (vegan) Ethiopian food, but my favorite is usually the yellow lentil dish, which google tells me is kik alicha!”
Yay, look for an email from me!