Dining in Ethiopia

 (Source: modified from ethiopianrestaurant.com)

Dining is characterized by the ritual of breaking "injera" and sharing food from a common plate, signifying the bonds of loyalty and friendship. The traditional way of eating is with fingers. "Injera" is placed on the plate with variety of dishes decoratively arranged around it. A small portion of "Injera" is torn off and wrapped around a mouthful of the selected dish.

Injera is a yeast-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff flour,  it is a national dish in Ethiopia and Eritrea. A similar variant is eaten in Somalia (where it is called canjeero or lahooh) and Yemen(where it is known as lahoh). 

"Wot" is dipping sauce which maybe prepared using a variety of meats, fish, and vegetables. "Wot" is cooked with "Berbere" (Ethiopian seasoning prepared from matured red chili pepper and other exotic spices) which may range from very mild to spicy hot. "Alitcha" is more mildly spiced dipping sauce prepared with a variety of meats or vegetables.

Ethiopian dishes are prepared with a distinctive variety of unique spices for an unforgettably striking dimension to exotic cookery. To help you make the best of choice for this truly different and exciting dinning experience we offer the following descriptions:

Ethiopian food for meat lovers
Meat in Ethiopia is from grass-fed beef and vegetables are organic by default. The livestock graze in open fields because there are no factory farms, and vegetables are rarely treated with pesticides because farmers can’t afford the chemicals. Chicken, lamb and beef are common meat dishes. Sea food is available but rare with limited selection most likely because the country is land-locked. 

Ethiopian food for vegetarians and vegans
There are a lot of vegan and vegetarian alternatives in Ethiopia, both for main dishes and desserts. This is primarily because a significant percentage of the population are orthodox Christians, that frequently fast by avoiding dairy and meat.

Appetizers and Desserts

Traditionally, there are no appetizers or desserts served in Ethiopia. The main dishes are usually very filling and packed with flavor. People normally have coffee during or after meals. Ethiopian coffee is the best! You must try it. At GT guest house, we have complimentary coffee ceremony on selected days that you must partake of, especially if you have never seen an Ethiopian coffee ceremony before. 

Berbere : A popular Ethiopian seasoning prepared from red chili peppers, garlic, & other spice. Berbere is sun-dried then mixed with more spices & used in wots.

Nitir Kibe : Another Ethiopian basic, Nitir Kibe is pure clarified butter seasoned with several condiments and used in traditional sauteing.

Kaey Wot : A lively sauce prepared with berbere, nitir kibe & meat, fish or legumes.

Alitcha : A delicately mild sauce made from meat, legumes or beans with garlic, ginger and Ird.

Mitmita : Bird's eye red pepper spiced with cardamom & salt, usually served with Kitfo.

Injera and Wot
Source: Wandering Gourmet


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