Ethiopian cuisine plays a massive role in the daily rhythm of the country.
Time and care is taken in the preparation of the traditional dishes and even more so when it comes to the communal, somewhat ceremonial practice of mealtime. It is an occasion for relaxation, to refuel after a long and active day, a time to discuss, debate and connect with friends and family. Something I feel we could all do a little more of!
Injera is the staple food of Ethiopia. It is a flat, spongy, ‘crumpet-like’ flatbread made from fermented teff flour, an ancient gluten-free grain found only in the African Horn. It serves as both plate and utensils, accompanied by a vast dotting of spicy stews, fried meats (when they can be afforded) and sauces, which frequently include beef, lamb, vegetables and various types of legumes such as lentils.
Ethiopians eat exclusively with their right hands, using pieces of injera to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes, feeding each other is common and ensures that everybody gets their fair share!
The whole experience is energising and despite the unfamiliar appearance Ethiopian food it is both incredibly nutritious and tasty .
A few months back I was overjoyed to hear a Radio 4 Food Programme on Ethiopian Teff. The sounds transported me straight back to the country, so much so, that I could almost taste and smell the injera.
It is well worth a listen – BBC Radio 4 – Food Programme – Ethiopian Teff