Traditional Ethiopian cuisine provides the true richness of clearly-recognizable tastes. It is based upon, first and foremost, spicely-conditioned vegetables and meat dishes. The basic condiment is hot berberi – a red paste of minced green pepper, mitmita – its pulverized variety with the addition of a small amount of salt. Pepper is practically never used , whereas salt is used in small quantities only. Auazi is a very spicy paste having an interesting taste. It is made of spicy peppers and vegetable subjected to the process of fermentation.
What bakery products mean for us, for Ethiopians is meant by injera. It looks as if it were a large pancake, the diameter of which amounts to approximately 50 centimeters, fried with fermented flour of the corn called tef. The process of fermentation lasts for three days and makes the cake sour, whereas its consistency resembles that of foam. Tef, which means the eragrostis tef, grows solely in Ethiopia and has grains as small as grass. It is in the possession of the very high nutritional values, for instance, approximately twenty times more of protein than in the case of wheat. It is similar in the case of iron.
Injera is served with the additions of sauces, meat goulash, served and steamed vegetables. Kai wat is a red, very spicy meat gravy. In the Amharic language, the word „kai” means „red”. The most popular fasting sauce is sziro – mashed dish made of beans. The Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Ethiopia recommends the numerous periods of fasting, in particular on Wednesdays, Fridays and also throughout the entire period of the Lent. Partially, it is the reason for the abundance of vegetarian and vegan dishes which can be met in the Ethiopian menu.
Ethiopians eat with right hands, collecting additional ingredients with a torn-off piece of cake. There exists the rule of ordering one plate for the group, and another is feeding one another. Ethiopian Christians do not eat pork. Except for not numerous restaurants in the capital city, this meat is not available in this country. What is served, is beef, lamb, goat’s meat and poultry. What is popular, is fish: grilled, fried or in the form of spicy goulash. Tourists, preferring European tastes, ought not be feel afraid of having to confine oneself to the local cuisine. Practically everywhere, it is possible to order spaghetti. In the majority of hotels and restaurants, the guests enjoy the wide assortment of dishes from international menu.
This is a dish made of finely-cut and fried meat. It looks entirely like our boeuf strogonov, but without a sauce. Tibs may be made of beef, veal, lamb or goat’s meat. They are usually served with injera, but, upon request, also with bakery. Ordering meat, it is worth remembering that Ethiopians prefer it to be fried for a short time, and a bit too raw, considering our preferences.
The dish considered to be one of the most characteristic for entire Ethiopia. It consists of minced or chopped beef with the addition of cleared butter and a spicy condiment called mitmita, prepared with the use of dry pepper. Those who are sensitive may always ask for frying ketfo. It is consumer with injera or kolcho – a round cake made of ensete, which means false banana tree.
The most favourite delicacy for Ethiopians is raw meat. Gored gored is beef (sometimes, lamb) cut into cubes. It is consumed raw, dipping pieces of either meat in sauces. One of the sauces is berberi – produced with the use of spicy pepper, and the other one is a kind of spicy mustard. The custom of consuming raw meat has its origins in the times of the invasions of Muslims, during which starting a fire meant taking a risk of being discovered. An Ethiopian butcher tends to have a room at the back of his shop, in which it is possible to consume raw and mildly-fried meat. In traditional restaurants, pieces of meat hang in places in which they are visible, so as to make it possible for guests to choose their favourite parts.
We encourage everyone to taste traditional breakfast – what is worth tasting, is firfir, which means injera with...injera. The dish is constituted by pieces of injera soaked with a red sauce and served with injera. Ethiopians do not use cutlery, and while eating scrambled eggs they are also substituted with by injera. Dulet is a mixture of minced cooked meat and poultry, with the addition of spicy pepper and the leaves of parsley. Genfo, the dish resembling porridge, is served with cleared butter and a spicy berberi sauce.
The afficionados of beer are unlikely to find Ethiopia disappointing. A few kinds of beer may successfully compete against the world-recognized brands. The number one is Saint George, bearing the name of the patron saint of the country, namely Saint George himself. Dashen, produced in Gondar, boasts the perfect quality of its water, obtained in the mountains. The name, originating from the highest mountain peak in Ethiopia, makes it obliged to maintain such a quality. The brewery in Harar produces an alcohol-free dark beer. Among the popular beverages, there are the tej (pronunciation: ted?) wine, produced of mead. There are different varieties of this beverage, differing in terms of the contents of alcohol. In Ethiopia, wine from vineyards situated to the south of the capital city, next to the road to Auasa, is also produced. Gouder is a red dry wine, Cristal is a white dry wine and Axumite is a sweet wine. Sparkling wine of reasonable quality has also appeared on the market. Araki is a group of home-made strong spirits. In the countrywide, the most popular drink is a barley beer, brewed with the use of methods possible to be used at home, namely tella. This is mostly a drink for the brave and having strong stomachs.