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Making Ethiopian Food for Saveur Magazine

By Marcus Samuelsson | June 24, 2011

Yesterday, MarcusSamuelsson.com visited Saveur Magazine‘s test kitchen to make traditional Ethiopian food. My wife Maya and I made kitfo, a raw minced meat dish that is similar to steak tartare, as well as gored gored, smoked collards, and aib.

Thank you to Editor in Chief James Oseland and the entire Saveur team for hosting us, we had a great time cooking and sharing food, coffee, and stories.

We brought specialty ingredients for the meal, including spiced butter from Ethiopia, which is fermented as a means of preservation.

We also brought injera, which is the pancake-like bread made with teff flour that is a staple in Ethiopian cuisine. The injera acts as a base for the dishes we made. First we made the kitfo.

The first step in making kitfo is to mince the beef. I use sirloin for its rich flavor, but in Ethiopia, kitfo could also be made with goat or lamb.

Then, you flavor the kitfo with spiced butter, which is called k’ibe. Berbere and mit’mita are the two spices essential to k’ibe-they’re like the salt and pepper of Ethiopia.

We made our own quick cottage cheese for the aib. You bring buttermilk to a boil, then drain the whey so that you have just the curds left.

The aib is flavored with dried greens and k’ibe. Traditionally you would use collard greens, but we used mustard greens, which taste great as well.

After drying the greens in the oven, you ground them into a powder to flavor the aib.

This is a common method of perserving greens in Ethiopia.

We also made gored gored, which is made from lightly cooked cubes of beef with shallots and garlic.

All the dishes go onto the same platter, gored gored, kitfo, aib, and the collards together on top of injera, with more injera for eating on the side.

It was really fun sharing Ethiopian food with the Saveur team. One of my favorite parts was preparing the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony with Maya.

You use green, unroasted beans to make the coffee. In New York, you can find these at Fairway.

Before you can roast the coffee, you have to wash the beans.

Then, pan-roast the dried coffee beans until they start popping like popcorn. They will be very dark, but that is how you get good flavor.

Maya put a little of the spiced butter into the cups with the coffee, which adds rich flavor to the drink.

While pouring the coffee, we played the video from our wedding in Ethiopia.

I had a really great time yesterday, and I loved being in Saveur’s kitchen and getting to talk about food and the magazine. The BBQ issue was truly fantastic, it’s an honor to give back with a gift of food.

Photos: Lindsay Hunt

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