Monday, August 11, 2008

Cooking this week -- Saturday Ethiopian Night

I've been in a cooking class these past two weeks. More on that later. I've been writing some, but not posting so things are getting stale around here. To keep things fresh I've decided to post some of the recent (home) cooking forays with comments and links.

Saturday -- Ethiopian night

Ethiopian style spiced butter (Niter Kebbeh). This is nice to have around as a flavorful fat base for East African dishes. Melt butter, remove foamy milk solids. Add chopped onion, and garlic. When translucent add cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, fenugreek and strain through cheese cloth. It keeps well so if you intend to cook a few Ethiopian dishes, I recommend making a couple pounds of butter and storing in the fridge. Getting the milk solids out is tedious work so make an amount that makes it worthwhile. For recipe details click here.

Saturday -- Doro Wat (Ethiopian Chicken stew) This recipe calls for the spiced butter above. I've had numerous versions of this in Ethiopian restaurants, but Elizabeth and I call it the "mother daughter combo" because it is served on injera with a chicken leg and a hard boiled egg along with side dishes (a vegetable stew alecha, yogurt, and yellow lentil stew).

Marinate chicken in lemon or lime juice. Add onions, garlic and spices including berere to the Niter Kebbeh. Don't go crazy with Niter Kebbeh, it is flavor, but it is also fat and your sauce will be very greasy if you overdo it. After a few minutes add chicken thighs and or drumsticks and just enough water to cover chicken. Reduce on medium heat for 30 minutes. For a detailed recipe click here.

Whenever cooking Ethiopian, injera is crucial. I got brown barley pancakes from my first effort making it myself. Not the thin spongy doughy injera I've come to love. I have a little teff flour and tried a recipe so vague I had to make a lot of guesses. There are places nearby that sell it, but Elizabeth was warping a loom so it was a bad time to interrupt.

My cooking class is helping my chopping and all-around cooking speed, but this just isn't a quick meal. It was fun and gave the house an exotic restaurant smell. To do the dish Doro Wat justice, don't skimp on the berbere. If you have little ones, you may want to have some other options for their dinner unless they have a high heat and spice tolerance.

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