Cookbook Review & Giveaway! Teff Love By Kittee Berns – CLOSED

April 13th, 2015 - filed under: Furthermore » Reviews

vegan ehiopian food

Hello, I cannot believe I made this food at home!!

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.

vegan ethiopian recipes

Santa Barbara has no Ethiopian restaurants, and I’ve spent the past few years in a serious berbere deficit. Until now!

Because now I am completely equipped to make all my favorite sauces and stews – as well as oil and spice blends – thanks to my friend Kittee‘s new Ethiopian cookbook, Teff Love.

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.

vegan ethiopian cooking

Popping the spices for the ye’wot qimem.

vegan ethiopian cookbook
Grinding the dried ye’wot qimem to be used in recipes.

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.

vegan ethiopian

Off to Still with Jeremy. Ethiopian makes great leftovers!

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!

♥ ♥ ♥


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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!

  • Cadry

    I’m not entering the contest, because I have this book already. However, I just had to chime in that you are SO RIGHT about its awesomeness. I haven’t used the injera recipe in the book yet since I have a local hook-up. I’m starting to feel brave, though, and thinking that I need to make the leap anyway. I’ve made a ton of other recipes from the book. My favorites are the mac and cheese, gomen, the chickpea tofu balls in sweet potato sauce, and awaze potatoes. Like you said, it has all been restaurant-quality. Since my favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Rahel, is a plane ride away, I’m so glad to have access to amazing Ethiopian food in my very own kitchen. Yay, Kittee!

  • Julie

    I’ve only tried Ethiopian food once, and I can’t remember what I had but it was vegan and delicious, and I loved the unique sour flavor of the bread! Everything you made sounds incredible as well!

  • Ingunn

    I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I’ve never had Ethiopian food! There’s a restaurant here in Seattle that’s been recommended to me, but I haven’t gone since I assumed it would be hard to eat without bread (I can’t have gluten), but since I LOVE any sort of stew or bean mix, it really does sound right up my alley. I would go for those white beans right away.

  • Susie

    I’m so excited to check out this book – I haven’t had really fantastic Ethiopian since I moved away from St. Louis. I can never decide what my favorites are – love me some injera, kik alicha, and mesir wot, though, and the collard dishes too!

    And Sayward, Santa Barbara does actually have Ethiopian food! Petit Valentien (in La Arcada downtown) serves Ethiopian lunches, but only on weekends. I think the owner’s wife is Ethiopian, and the menu changes weekly. Food is served on divided plates and the injera is served separately, so it’s not quite like a real Ethiopian restaurant, but it’s great in a pinch!

  • Gretchen Cain

    I love injera! Basically anything Ethopian scooped up and eaten with the bread works for me :) I’m close to Portland so I’ll definitely check Bete Lukas the next chance I get. (Plus, I teach 2 Ethiopian students so it would be fun to share the cookbook with them and get their take on it!)

  • Denise

    I love Ethiopian food (Bete Lukas is sooo good!) but I’m not great at knowing the names of what I eat. Whatever the Vegetarian Combo platter has, yes please, all of it, I want to eat everything available with lots of extra injera. Even if I don’t get this book I’m going to buy it because there’s no Ethiopian out in the Columbia Gorge.

  • Danielle Gardner

    I love Ethiopian food! Though I rarely have the opportunity to enjoy it. There was once a great Ethiopian place here, where I live, in Boulder, Colorado, but it has recently gone out of business. They also used to put wheat in their injera, so I stopped going there as frequently once I had gone vegan and gluten free. Injera is my favorite! I love the slight and mild tang that it provides paired with all the wonderful spices in the food. And, no hands! Hard to get better than eating food that doesn’t require utensils. Great post!

  • Maria

    I´ve actually never had Ethiopian. Ye’misser wot sounds lovely – I love everything to do with lentils.

  • birrrd

    I don’t have a favorite since I only tried very few ethiopian food yet. However I made Injera once and I loved the taste and texture of it! Such a good way to spoon up your foods…

  • Lacy Davis

    my favorite is ful mudammas!

  • Kate S.

    ethiopian food is my favorite food in the universe. it is basically the perfect food. i love almost every vegetarian dish but ye’misser wot is my favorite!!!

  • vegyogini

    This book is the #1 on my cookbook wishlist! I LOVE Ethiopian food; it’s my favorite cuisine. I always get the vegetarian sampler at my preferred Ethiopian restaurant, but if I have to choose one dish, it’d be Yatakilt Wot and tons of injera. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  • Sarah Haldeman

    I’ve been waiting to get my hands on a copy of this book. I just love injera so much. There’s something about the tang of the bread with how light it is. It soaks up everything so well. I’ve never made injera, but it’s an adventure I definitely want to go on!

  • Nicole Lee-Sye

    I want to try that white bean deliciousness you mentioned!!

  • Julie

    Ye’misser wot. I could eat that by the bucketful. Makes me miss the Ethiopian place we used to frequent when we lived near civilization.

  • Molly Lansdowne

    Ye’misser wot–never gets old :)

  • Candyce

    Sadly, I do not have social media accounts any longer (I went through a period a couple of years ago of deleting what I did have), but I love your blog, and sing its praises by word of mouth :) As for favorite dish, my favorite is a cabbage and potato dish, which I believe is called atkilt wot, but I’m not certain–I do know that it has cabbage and potatoes and carrots. So tasty! Thanks for this giveaway!

  • teegan

    I’ve never had great Ethiopian (never lived in a place that had any), but my sister-in-law loves it, and it all looks and sounds amazing!

  • Jo

    I’m not an official entry, because I follow already and live outside the US (although, hey, if you’re down for international postage, I’ll enter!), but I LOVE ethiopian food. It’s so addictive! There’s an Ethiopean market stall near me, and when my daughter was really small I would go there like twice a week, and try not to drip on her head in the sling. haha

  • Rounds

    I’ve not had Ethiopian food before, so the dish that sounds best to me is the ye’atakilt alicha. Maybe a little spicier that as described.

  • ohellokello

    Can I say injera is my favorite? There’s just nothing like that tangy fermented flavor. But for non-injera picks, the lentils and collard greens at my local Ethiopian restaurant are to die for.

  • Susanna

    Oh, love of loves! Ethiopian food is my favorite! And of all of it I love, injera is by far my favorite. I would eat it plain, but it is so good with everything on it. I love its sour tang, and yes, eating with our hands is the best!

  • Jess Brown

    I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been vegan for 15 years and never eaten Ethiopian food! I’m sure I’d love it. I think ye’misser wot sounds amazing since I love anything with red lentils.

  • Kristin

    We used to have the most amazeballs little Ethiopian restaurant in town that closed a couple years back. I’ve been mourning the loss of their misser wot ever since. Would love to attempt injera as well. (I say attempt because my lack of crepe skills make me think it will be an ongoing process). I’m now hungry thinking about it. ;)

  • jac

    I would like to try injera again. I have had it once years ago and did not care for it, but I am eager to give it another try. I recently went to a nutrition therapist who told me all grains should be off limits for my body except teff and one other obscure grain, so I think this would be a good time for me to try my hand at injera. I have always loved the differently prepared greens in ethiopian food. That’s what I’ve always piled my plate with on the rare occasions that I’ve been in a city with an ethiopian restaurant. I sincerely thank you for not like-gating too!

  • Joleanna Ann

    So excited to try Ethiopian food! Love all things new and spicy. Most excited about the Sourdough teff starter. And really…a meal where I’m supposed to not used a fork??? Yes please! :D

  • Nikki

    I have only eaten Ethiopian food once (considering there are approximately 3,000 Ethiopian restaurants in Denver, this is bad news), so I don’t have a ton of experience. I am pretty sure what we ordered had the yellow lentil dish above, which I loved. Plus, there was this collard green (I think it was collard greens) dish with tomatoes that was super yummy (and hopefully something similar in the book)!

  • katrina

    Yummy!! I love love love Ethiopian food. I forget the name, but there’s a potato dish I eat a lot that I’d love to try! Great giveaway! Thanks for hosting!

  • Elisabeth

    The only Ethiopian dish I’ve ever had is key sir,which is beets and potatoes seasoned with lemon, onion, and pepper. It was delicious, so I would love to win this book and learn more about Ethiopian food!

  • jenn

    Hi Sayward, I love the injera (which I’ve made myself at home, loving the ferments too) with all the vegetable spicy yummyness. I have had a hard time finding teff tho here in Baltimore area, so I have used millet flour which i think is related. Jenn

  • Melly

    I have sadly never had Ethiopian food, but the ye’nech bakela alicha sounds devine. I love anything garlicky and creamy, and I even have some white beans on hand right now. Must look up recipe!

  • Sarah Cotter
  • TessBrianna

    I love red lentil misir wot. I’m pretty much sold on anything with lentils, but the spices take it out of this world.

  • Callie

    This book looks so amazing! A few years ago I was in Portland and I picked up a little ethiopian cooking zine by the same author called “papa tofu loves ethiopian food.” It is great, so I can’t imagine what this one could have that would be better! My favorite dish is absolutely ye’ssamir wot – its so spicy and creamy. Making it yourself is so satisfying, with the addition that it makes you look like a cooking super star despite that its pretty simple to throw together…wins all around!

  • Anna

    I love injeera! There’s this awesome split pea dish at an Ethopian place in Salt Lake City, but I can’t remember the name.

  • Rachel from The Judgmental Veg

    I just got this book and I’m so excited! Gonna try the quick injera this week along with ye’misser wot and ye’dubba alicha (butternut squash with mild sauce). I think, though, my very favorite dish that I’ve ever tried of Ethiopian is shiro. So rich and creamy! I love it <3

  • Christa

    Oh man, this all looks delicious. My favorite cuisine is middle-eastern and while not the same it’s based on a lot of the same spices. Holy yum!

  • Tyneisha

    I have never had Ethiopian food but it sounds amazing! I’d love to try the ye’atakilt alicha!

  • Katie

    I love mesir wot. There’s a fantastic spot near me that is incredibly delicious, it’s not expensive but I still treat it like a special-occasion spot because it feels so luxurious.

  • Gillian Moynihan

    I love all (vegan) Ethiopian food, but my favorite is usually the yellow lentil dish, which google tells me is kik alicha!

  • JW

    I don’t know what the dish is called, but my favorite when I go to an Ethiopian restaurant is usually a yellow lentil dish. Oh, and I love the injera!

  • alisa joy

    hand down, my favorite is ye’atakilt alicha. so so so so good. thank you for such an awesome giveaway!

  • Sonja Hilton

    I’ve never had Ethiopian food so any of it sounds good and I love bread… so injurer

  • Rachel in Veganland

    Great review, Sayward! I have to say i really love the injera, but it has to be curled around some ye’misser wot. Gotta love those spicy lentils!

  • Jo

    I totally take back my original non-entry and upgrade to entry, ’cause you could send it to my mom’s house in California, right? ;) I don’t actually know the names of the Ethipian dishes I like, because I get them from a market stall, not a menu. I like it allllllll.

  • Jennifer

    I go nuts for the injera. It is so tasty and since I haven’t made it at home yet it is the dish that sticks out the most in my mind.

  • Jill

    Atkilt Wot is my fave. I love Kittee and would love to add this book to my collection.

  • Anna McClaugherty Cordova

    I have never made it myself, but I am very curious to try! I have been to a restaurant near me called “Queen of Sheeba” they have this awesome dish with yellow split peas, turmeric, onions, garlic, ginger
    and herbs! Yummy. I would love to try this cookbook!! I have cooked with teff before, but never tried making injera with it. I’ll have to now!

  • Meg Travis-Carr

    MMMmmmmm, such a mouth-watering post… love me some ethiopian foooood! I’m not sure what the dishes name is, but I love the pickled beets and jalapeno slices that come with most veggie platters at Ethiopian restaurants. It’s tough choosing from so much goodness, but I definitely look forwards to dem beets!!! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity; love Kittee’s recipes!

  • Becca

    Okay. So there’s this place here in Chicago where there’s a pumpkin dish I’ve only TASTED once. I was with a friend and she was willing to share. But not willing to trade. I don’t even know what its called and I haven’t been able to get back there to order again. But someday soon, goddamnit. Someday soon.