Daniel is a fun cook. Once in a while he gets an interesting idea to try something new, and he goes all out. He spends time researching recipes and ingredients, and he makes sure that he does it just right.
A few months ago, I made an attempt at cooking some Ethiopian food. I cheated, though. I did not use all the spices called for in the stew (because I wanted to LIKE it!), and the injera was a shortcut version, not the full blown sour dough version made with teff flour.
Last week while he was off from work, Daniel decided that he was going to cook us some real Ethiopian food. We really want it to be a part of our family's dinner routine, at least occasionally. Although the spices are very different from what we are used to, we keep hoping that if we eat it enough times we will start to truly enjoy it.....
So he went ALL OUT. He went to the international market at the downtown farmers' market to get some of the spices that aren't even available at our local grocery store. He started by making the tear gas.... oops, I mean the berbere paste. Berbere paste is a mixture of several potent spices that is used to flavor many of their dishes. It is an Ethiopian staple. To make it you toast cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, fenugreek, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cloves, and several other spices in a skillet. That's when it became tear gas. We literally had to open the windows and put fans in them to air out the house because we couldn't breathe.
He purchased real teff flour at the international market too, and he worked all week on making his own injera "starter." You must allow it to ferment at room temperate for several days. Yummy, I know. :)
By Saturday he was ready to assemble the meal. He prepared Doro Wat (chicken stew, a common Ethiopian dish), injera, and yellow split peas (a dish that we have come to recognize as a "safe" one at Ethiopian restaurants, that is, not spicy.) Here are a few photos:
Doro Wat. It has hardboiled eggs in it too. It really did taste better than it looks.
Yellow split peas
Daniel feeling a little nervous as he cooked his first injera
The first batch didn't turn out so well
But the next batch looked beautiful! However, it lacked the bubbly texture that injera is supposed to have.
I am proud of his efforts, and overall everything was really good. I have to admit, though, that after the tear gas episode, we wimped out and he only added about 1/4 the amount of berbere spice mixture that the recipe called for. That was plenty for us.
Here are the recipes that he used: