This is the fourth and final post in my Art of Ethiopian Cuisine post series. From a 100%-not-Ethiopian-American, I must say this all tasted really dang good. And it doesn’t take too much hands-on work time. If I had had a real Ethiopian over to try it, I’m not sure what their opinion would be. But if you want the “Americanized” easy version, these recipes are sure to do the trick!
The Art of Ethiopian Cuisine: Part 1 – Beef & Pork
The Art of Ethiopian Cuisine: Part 2 – Chicken & Fish
The Art of Ethiopian Cuisine: Part 3 – Potatoes & Lentils
The Art of Ethiopian Cuisine: Part 4 – Cheese, Greens, & Injera
The cheese is called “Iab or Ayib” and is like a cottage cheese/ricotta hybrid. You usually need it to temper the heat in these types of dishes, but my recipes leave out the Berberi spices you will notice. If you like super hot foods, feel free to pick some up and sprinkle it into all these stews. Because I don’t have hours or days to make it the proper way, THIS recipe from Whats4Eats comes close to approximating Iab.
1 cup large curd cottage cheese
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
Sprinkle sea salt
Step 1: Rinse the cottage cheese in cold water and let it drain. Press dry with paper towels if you like. I tried that and the towel got cheese curds stuck all over it so try at your own risk.
Step 2: In a bowl, mix the cheese curds, yogurt, lemon juice, and salt. Refrigerate until serving.
The greens are called “Gomen Wat” (guess Wat…again) and the recipe I used is based off the one HERE on my trusty AllRecipes site. I didn’t have collard greens, so I used what I had, which was kale. I bet you could use spinach instead as well, any leafy green will do.
Ingredients (Gomen Wat):
2 cups chopped kale
2 cups water/stock
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Make sure to stir every now and then. The greens will wilt and take up less room. I like my greens extra tangy to counteract the bitter. I also sprinkle them with a healthy dose of fresh coarse ground sea salt. Keep on low until you serve.
And of course, the cornerstone of the meal, that which holds it all together and is both plate and utensil, the Injera bread. Usually it is made from pure Teff flour and allowed to ferment and rise for three days. I unfortunately had neither the grain nor the time. So I based mine off this cheat recipe HERE from Whats4Eats, which does not need either. It rather ingeniously uses club soda and lemon for both the bubbles and the tang.
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups club soda
As you can see, I had lemon-lime club soda so at first I didn’t use the lemon juice. Several other recipes I found also use vinegar if you don’t have lemon.
Step 1: Combine all ingredients and stir just until all flour is incorporated. The club soda will bubble quite a bit.
Step 2: On a hot, sprayed griddle, pour about 1/2 cup of batter.
Step 3: Typically injera is only cooked on one side, but I found that this better was just thick and pancake-y enough that I had to let it mostly cook, then flip for a final minute or two. There were still bubbles, which approximates injera. However the consensus was that the dough is thicker and sweeter than usual. So these are the Americanized Ethiopian pancake version of injera. And actually some said they prefer it, so perhaps this is a better way to ease an American palate into ethnic cuisine.
And this was the final meal. Ground beef, pork, chicken, fish, lentils, potatoes, greens, cheese and my injera pancakes. You of course don’t have to cook all these at the same time, but I encourage you to at least make some injera and try one or two stews. You may find that you crave the flavors of Ethiopia from now on! And by cooking all this at home, you control the ingredients, so this meal turns out to be quite healthy, and very filling.