Three years ago, we were blessed to travel to Ethiopia not once, but twice!
We traveled to the East African land to meet our youngest daughter for the first time.
Our first trip led us to our sweet Medhanit during Christmas. It remember the special time, as I look through our pictures to find some of our Epicurean adventure in Ethiopia.
I found myself in tears as I looked through our pictures. Our little girl is so precious, there are just no words to describe...
We fell instantly in love with the people, the culture, the food, the smells, the sounds.
It was nothing like my preconceived thoughts. A poor country, but the people are filled with hope and love. They exude warmth and welcome unconditionally.
And the food...Oh the food!
Our favorite is the Doro Wot with Injera and Alecha. It has become a family favorite. My big kids who were once skeptics now love our Ethiopian nights.
Traditionally the dinner is eaten family style. All gathered around the mesab, a tall basket used like a table.
Eaten with your hands. Before a meal all guests wash hands over a bowl with a warm kettle full of water, it was very ceremonial.
Our community has a well connected Ethiopian population. Before our daughter came home we got plugged in and were able to learn more about the culture and cooking techniques from our dear Ethiopian friends.
If you ever have the chance to visit a restaurant or be invited to someone's home for an authentic Ethiopian meal, do not pass it up! Savor the moment, it is more than a meal, but an invitation into a person's life, an invitation of friendship, of story telling.
But be warned, if you eat with your left hand during the meal you will be getting hand fed the rest of the evening by your gracious host.
Doro Wot (Chicken Stew):
2 lbs chicken meat of your choice. Tradition would use chicken legs. For my picky American eaters (AKA my 9-year-old son) use white meat cubed chicken.
2 - 4 onions
1 stick butter
1 small can tomato paste
5 TBS- 1 1/2 cups Berebere ( Ethiopian Spice)
water to cover
salt to taste
Sautee the onions and butter until the onions are clear. Remove the onions and add your chicken. Cook until done. Add the onions and a little oil or more butter if necessary. Stir in the tomato paste, salt and berbere. Mix until well coated. Cover with water and let stew for at least an hour on low.
* Note: This recipe is from an authentic Ethiopian cook. She does not measure! These are my best guess. Add small amounts of spice to begin and adjust to your palette.
Ethiopia will forever hold a special place in my heart.
As they say in Ethiopia, "Ciao."