Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Injera in State College

Our Ethiopian cooking class last week was fun. True, it was a challenge for everyone to get the injera thin enough, and we cheated after roasting the Ethiopian coffee beans in a cast iron frying pan by grinding them in a coffee grinder (along with a few cloves and a short stick of cinnamon). And we had to use an American coffee pot to serve the coffee, plus we had to substitute mead for tej at dinner. You can only special order a whole case of tej to get it in the state liquor stores here in central Pennslvania, where there are no Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurants, but a good time was had by all.

The stews (wats and alechas) and Ethiopian-style cheese were a hit and people were eager to take home some of the sour dough starter made with tef, as well as authentic
berberé to try their hands at duplicating our meal.

The electric metad (aka lefse maker) worked fine, and we served the injera on 16-inch pizza pans at the table. Tomorrow I'll get back to the cookbook recipes. Watch for recipe #17, Ghanaian tatale (ripe plantain pancakes).

I'm still waiting to hear who else is teaching African cooking classes, and where.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Step-by-step Ethiopian Injera

My family and I are great fans of Ethiopian/Eritrean cooking. After my son graduated from Harvard's GSD a few weeks ago, he and his co-graduate friend selected an Ethiopian restaurant in Cambridge for the celebration meal for both our extended families. That's the one time I forgot my camera! Anyhow, this week I'm cooking Ethiopian.

On Wed., Sore Shields and I had a preliminary cooking class with Laura Litwiller, a skilled local maker of injera, the spongy sour dough crepe/pancake that's emblamatic of Ethiopian cooking. She lent us some of her starter (years in the making), and helped us prepare a batter using teff and wheat flour. For the last 2 days it's been fermenting. I videotaped much of the process, and will soon post the video here.

Today (Friday) she's returning in the afternoon, and we'll be making the actual injera, along with a few side dishes, doro watt (a spicy chicken stew), siga tibbs (a beef stew) and gomen watt (an Ethiopian version of cooked kale). I think she's also bringing some shiro (a spicy legume powder), as I asked to see it. Since I've invited several friends for dinner (always the optimist), I'm going to whip up some kik pea alecha watt (a mild stew with chick peas, aka garbanzo beans), and an Ethiopian tomato salad, along with a vegetarian sambossa as an appetizer. If our local liquor store carries it, I'll probably pick up some Ethiopian tej (honey wine). All of that means I won't have any more time today to follow up on blog postings about our trip to Jamaica, a new Senegalise restaurant in Cambridge, answering my next question on African cuisines (about restaurants in the U.S.), and also posting another recipe from the Ghanaian regional cookbook. Trust me, I haven't forgotten. There just don't seem to be enough hours in a day!

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