Traveling around the world and tasting and seeing things you’ve never even imagined before is definitely a humbling experience. Ethiopian cuisine is one of those experiences. Living in the US, it is not very often we come across Ethiopian cuisine, and it is not the prettiest cuisine, I must add. However, the flavors and the variety is impressive, and let’s face it, eating with your hand is so much fun!
This site, foodbycountry.com goes into the history of Ethiopian cuisine, and the unique spices used in its cuisine. Ethiopian culture has been influenced very little by other countries. Ethiopia's mountainous terrain prevented its neighbors from exercising much influence over the country and its customs. Exotic spices were introduced to Ethiopian cooking by traders traveling the trade routes between Europe and the Far East.
The staple food is the Injera, a bread made from teff, a kind of grain grown in Ethiopia. Usually the diners will tear off a piece of Injera and scoop up some main course with their right-hand to deliver to their mouths. Here are some basic types of dishes to consider:
- Wat – Can consist of beef, lamb, fish, vegetables or lentils. Usually in Ethiopian cuisine, pork is not used. The main ingredient is cooked with large amount of sautéed onions and spices, made into a stew.
- Tibs – Meat along with vegetables are sautéed to make tibs
- Kitfo – raw beef mince marinated in very spicy chili powder
- Ayibe – cottage cheese that is mild and crumbly, close in texture to crumbled feta cheese.
Of course, there are many many other types of dishes to try out, especially the various salads. For example this grilled pepper and olive salad sounds delectable! So why not start by visiting an Ethiopian restaurant nearby? A highly recommended restaurant in the NJ area is the Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant in South Orange, NJ. Have a wonderful time exploring new cultures!
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.