Injera – Ethiopia
Our London based journey around the world of food starts off in Ethiopia. What a great start. Armed with very little knowledge and experience of this cusine, we headed to North London to a small restaurant that an Ethiopian friend of ours recommended.
Ethiopian food is perfect for sharing with close friends and a typical meal, we were told, only ends when the tablecloth too has been eaten?! We were also told that during a traditional ritual called Gursha (act of friendship) diners may feed each other as a symbol of friendship or loyalty.
The picture we’ve posted Injera should give you an idea of what our friend meant by this. This tablecloth, or rather, a very large spongy type of flatbread, arrived at our table followed by a number of meat and veggie dishes containing very thick stews. The contents of each dish is proudly poured out onto the Injera and piled high infront of us to form an appetizing picture of colourful mounds of spicy and spicier aromatic food just waiting to be eaten. Which we certainly did, tablecloth and all.
Spices + other Words
Sena Fitch Mustard seed
Seneg Kariya Green Jalapeno
Awaze Super Hot Paste
Mitmita Chili + Cardamom blend
Berbere Seasoning – Spices and Garlic – sun dried – dark red colour
Wots Thick Spicy Stew
Kifto Beef Mince – rare or raw
Important to be aware that, with no cutlery in sight, each mouthful may need some planning and strategy. Rest assured that we very quickly got the hang of this. The process turned into a ritual which felt quite relaxing and gave our meal a dimension of intimacy that we enjoyed very much (despite the decision not to feed each other). An exciting and satisfying experience from start to finish.
Did you know?
There is no such thing as dessert in Ethiopian cuisine. Traditionally Lab (cross between yoghurt and cottage cheese) is served after a meal and of course ….
……coffee, but not just any coffee (black and very sweet).
Coffee is part of Ethiopian culture in a big way. An invitation to an Ethiopian coffee ceremony is apparently a sign of respect “you are my friend” to which I would add “and hope you are not in a hurry” because done traditionally, this is known to take a few hours.
We might not recommend first timers like us to suggest this cuisine for a business meal or a first time encounter with the in-laws..unless of course they are full of the adventurous spirit or just spirits 🙂
Restaurant details available on request, of course.