ethiopian

Swushi

By Marcus Samuelsson | August 25, 2014

Image by FYI Network
Image by FYI Network

Image by FYI Network

On the second episode of The Feed, we were challenged to create new mashup dishes. After consulting with Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel, creator of the cronut and king of the culinary mashup, I decided on making Swushi.  Swushi is fun to say, but even more exciting to eat. This recipe blends the flavors of my heritage through Ethiopian injera and Swedish gravlax to create a new kind of Japanese sushi.

Injera

By Suzannah Schneider | August 12, 2014

Image by Rod Waddington

Injera is the sour, spongy bread that makes Ethiopian food unique. Injera is so intertwined with Ethiopian life and culture that a common greeting among Ethiopians is, “Have you eaten injera today?” The bread is made from teff, which is a tiny, hardy, and calcium-rich grain that is native to Ethiopia. Teff is well-suited to the semi-nomadic life in Ethiopia because just a handful of the poppyseed-sized seeds are enough to sow an entire field. The seed also travels well, and cooks fast.

In Ethiopia, the rich bread is used instead of silverware, and often substitutes as the tablecloth. For a traditional Ethiopian meal, diners sit on a low divan with a mesab before them. A mesab, pictured below, is a handmade wicker hourglass-shaped table with an ornate domed cover. The injera is placed in the mesab with dishes portioned out onto sections of the injera, as shown in the image above.

To eat injera, tear off a piece about two to three square inches, roll up bites of traditional dishes like yamsir wot (red lentils with onion in a spicy sauce) or doro tibs (cubed chicken breast with jalapeño, onion, garlic and green pepper), and pop the roll into your mouth! It is traditional to feed somebody your rolls of food with your hands. This is a sign of respect and love, and the larger the piece the stronger the bond. It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but it’s an indication of excellent hospitality.

Making traditional injera is a very time-consuming process so most families in Ethiopia buy their supply from tef terras, which are small huts that specialize in making the bread. Women pound teff grains with a stone into a fine powder, then sift the flour to remove impurities. The flour is then formed into a dough with a sourdough starter and set aside for three days to ferment and sour before it is poured into a massive skillet and cooked like a pancake.

This recipe from Soul of a New Cuisine streamlines injera by providing the option of using whole-wheat flour instead of teff flour, adding baking soda for the leaving agent instead of the sourdough starter, and using yogurt for its sour tang.

Injera may seem a bit complicated, but it’s worth because it is so fun to eat. Much of the world is so used to consuming food with cold metal forks and knives; eating with your hands and savoring your utensil can be a welcome, delightful departure from the ordinary.

Image by yi

 

Ethiopian Shiro Spread Recipe

By Ashley Beck | December 10, 2012

Photo: Johnny Stiletto

Shiro is an essential part of the Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. A favorite during Lent and Ramadan, it’s often prepared with minced onions and garlic, and some regions even add ground ginger, chopped tomatoes and chili peppers to the smooth, chickpea flour-based mixture. Served with injera or this honey bread, it’s predominantly a vegan dish although some versions contain meat.

Featured Recipe

Image by Rod Waddington Dinner

By Suzannah Schneider

Injera

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