Berber, Injera and Ethiopian Food Recipes

     Does anyone out there like Ethiopian food? I like a number of things, a few of which I've listed on this post. I would love to share recipes with anyone else. For lunch today I made a spice lentil "stew" called Yemiser W'et,
a dish of lentils with sweet potatoes, and Injera ( a soft, spongy bread) The sweet potato dish was OK to good, the W'et was very good and the injera, well I've been making that for years with another dish called Doro W'et. I think the W'ets and injera just go hand in hand. I hope you like these dishes also.

                                                 Sweet Potatoes with Lentils  (Serves 2-3)

         1 large onion, diced
         3 cloves garlic, minced
         1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (or 1/2 dried ginger)
         1/4  large red bell pepper, diced
         1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
         1 tsp niter kebbeh (recipe follows)
         2 Tbsp lentils, rinsed
         11/2 tsp tomato paste
         1c water (may need a bit more)
         3/4 tsp Hungarian paprika ( smoked or hot paprika will give a different flavor)
         1/2 tsp ground coriander
         1/4 tsp allspice
         1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
         1/4 tsp ground fenugreek (try not to omit this. It can be difficult to find outside of an ethnic grocery)
         1/4 tsp ground ginger
         1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
         pepper to taste

Saute onion, garlic and ginger and sweet potato in niter kebbeh until onions are almost translucent.
Add bell peppers and saute a few minutes more.
Add water, lentils and tomato paste and bring to a boil.
Add spices and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender and all water is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.  Correct seasoning. Serve.

                                              Niter Kebbeh (Spiced Butter)

          1lb butter
          1/4 c onion
          2 cloves garlic
          2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
          1/2 tsp tumeric
          4 cardamom seeds, cracked
          1 cinnamon stick
          2 cloves, whole
          1/8 tsp nutmeg
          1/4 tsp fenugreek
          1 tbsp fresh basil, or 2 tsp dried

In small saucepan, melt butter until bubbling and top is covered with foam.
Add all other ingredients, reduce heat and simmer 45-60 minutes. Yes, that's correct. This is basically a spiced clarified butter.  As it simmers, it will become transparent and the milk solids will fall to the bottom of the pan.

At the end of cooking time, strain through a cheesecloth in to a heat resistant container. Spices and solids are discarded. Cover butter tightly and store in refrigerator up to 2 months.

                                          Yemiser W'et (Spicy Lentil Stew)   Serves 2-3

          1c brown lentils
          1c onion, diced
          3 cloves garlic, minced
          2T niter kebbeh
          1 tsp berber (recipe follows)
          1/2 tsp coriander
          1/2 tsp cumin
          1tsp Sweet paprika
          2c tomato, chopped
          1/2c tomato paste
          1c stock
          salt and pepper to taste

Cook lentils until almost done (about 20minutes)
Add all spices and cook a few minutes. Becareful to stir often to prevent burning.
Stir in tomatoes and paste and stir 5 minutes.
Add stock and simmer. At end of cooking time, drain lentils and add to pot. Finish cooking - until lentils are tender and sauce is slightly thickened.
Correct seasonings with salt and pepper.
Serve with Injera.

Note: the original serving suggestion was a side of cottage cheese. I did not like this and would not serve the cottage cheese with this W'et.

                                                     BerBere Spice
Combine all and toast gently in dry pan over low heat about 8 minutes.
          1tsp groung ginger
          1/2 tsp ground cardamom
          1/2 tsp ground coriander
          1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
          1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
          1/4 tsp ground cloves
          1/4 tsp cinnamon
          1/4 tsp allspice
          2 Tbsp salt
          11/4c cayenne (***I like things way milder here - I use 1Tbsp cayenne!!)
          1/2c paprika (I use Hungarian)
          1tsp black pepper ( I just add a dash - enough heat for me with cayenne)

                                        Injera Bread
Note: this is a simplified version of Injera I found long ago in an African Cookbook. It was promoted as tasting almost authentic. If I recall correctly, the real deal uses all Teff and ferments several days). I have cut the original recipe in half - and that usually makes 12 or more breads. This bread is soft, airy, spongy and is designed to scoop up food. If you think of a crepe, you'll have a pretty good idea of how to handle the breads.
          2c self rising flour
          1/2 c whole wheat flour
          1/8c Teff (if you can find it. Better grocery stores usually carry it)
          1/2 tsp baking soda
          1c club soda (will probably need more)

Combine dry ingredients and mix well.
Add club soda and stir well. Add enough to have a fairly thin batter without lumps.

Heat a non-stick skillet (I use a 7" pan). When hot, pour just over 1/8c batter into pan. Work quickly to be sure batter is spread evenly over surface of pan. This is very important to proper cooking. It batter is too thick, it will be too wet in areas - and that does not taste good!). Cook until moisture evaporates - holes will form on surface, edges will curl away from pan. BUT do not cook too long or bread will be crusty. DO NOT cook on other side - one side only, which is why batter needs to be a thin coating on pan. I find that on medium-medium low heat these cook in about 3-4 minutes.

Remove from pan and cover with a clean cloth. I find it best not to cool them on a plate, but on a towel so steam can escape and not make breads soggy.


Injera showing curling at edge of pan.

                 Right shows how Injera drapes over plate  

Injera with Yemiser W'et, side of Lentils with Sweet Potato and Cottage Cheese. I would recommend no cottage cheese.

Fruit for desert would be good.

Please let me know what you think of these recipes. Were the directions for making Injera clear enough?