A New Kitchen Staple

Saturday night I went to the World Food Festival that’s going on in a nearby city. I’ve gone with my mom for several years with one goal. Ethiopian food. It’s one of my favorite cuisines and is particularly hard to find where I live. Thankfully Minneapolis isn’t too far and they know the joys of injera and w’et. So this year I bee-lined for the Ethiopian Association’s stand and ordered a veggie platter. I always get such a warm reception, especially when I get it with injera and ask for an extra piece. But I wolfed it down far too quickly and was then left sad and injera-less. The only other treats at the food festival that are vegan are drinks so this was dinner.

Now I’m home and rather sad that I have to wait until next year. Or do I? I talked to one of the cooks at the stand and asked where I could get injera and he recommended a halal store that would carry it, or if I needed a lot he gave me his phone number to call if I ever needed lots of it. So I have the injera source, the next was the seasonings. I’ve been meaning to make berbere and niter kibbeh for a while but just never get around to it. Until I was forced to clean out my cupboards yesterday and realized I had everything for it. By the afternoon I had a 1/2 c. jar full of berbere and a bunch of niter kebbeh. By the evening I had an almost empty jar of berbere and much less niter kebbeh. But I also had an awesome Ethiopian feast.

I used the second berbere recipe on this site and the niter kibbeh from Kittee’s zine Papa Tofu. I believe it might be out of print now, but don’t despair! She just came out with Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food which I have on my list of cookbooks I need to buy. The other recipes I made yesterday, including the niter kebbeh, were from Papa Tofu. In the foreground is the shimbra asa w’et (chickpea “fish” in onion wine gravy baked instead of fried), back right is the yemiser w’et (lentils in spicy red gravy), and back left is my version of atkilt wat (cabbage dish).

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