Traditional Ethiopian recipes by 13 months and days of the week with the recipes, stories and art from the time of Solomon and Sheba to the family kitchen in Fairbanks Alaska, by Esther Sellassie Antohin, great drand-daughter of Haile Sellassie I.
Folks, for three years we are getting emails about Ethiopian Recipes, so, finally, we decided to put together EthioCookBook -- and to make it different to add the flavor or art, culture and history.Welcome and enjoy!
Since this is a new project, please, send your suggestions, recommendations, your recipes.
Use the GuestBook or email webmaster!First, a few words about the history of this project. In 1984 we were a part of the fundraising compaign for famine victims in Ethiopia. Remember, "We are the World"? That was the time of realizion that Ethiopia with its old and rich culture could give back much to the generocity of the people from every corner of the world. Ethiopian unique and even exotic food is one of those treasures.Esther and Anatoly
Americans know many ethnic cuisines -- French, Italian, Chinese, oh, the list is long! -- but in the eighties here in US we heard only about the hunger in Ethiopia, not about this one important component of Ethiopian civilization, which substained it for millenniums -- yes, the food! That was the time we began to collect the ancient art and recipes, without any plans, mostly out of love and appreciation.
It the Internet that change the nature of this process; in 1998 we opened the first "Sellassie Family Pages" -- and again, we were surprised by the respond -- and, yes, many wanted to know the secret of Ethiopian kitchen. So, the "eFood" directories grew: "e" stands for Ethiopian" and "Electronic" -- but, nevertheless, we try to keep it humble and simple. After all, this is from our home, kitchen of library, we didn't have in mind the "real" book of Ethiopian recipes, maybe, mini-cookbook.
Art and Texts. If it's not in public domain, it's painted and written by Anatoly. How could one introduce the national cuisine without referemces to history, for example? Food is the silent trace of many generations, the memories of many lives, the invisible presence of the past. Therefore, the mini-book contains many historical facts, including the favorite narative from the times of Solomon and Sheba. In fact, the structure is around the 13 months of the Ethiopian calendar and 13 chapters from the great love story.
Well, food is very personal matter, we like what we like. We don't have to defend our choices, we hardly can fight our own preferences! Food has the powers only love has.
Food is something for that child that lives in us regardless of the age. I want it, I like it, I love it! -- Give up, give in -- have it!
Oh, the politics of the world! The extremism, intolerance, anger, but at the dinner table the opponents go for the same dish, it's the time of peace and pleasure. Somebody ought to write a book about the politics of food!
The title went through many transformations, the most recent -- "Ethiopian Diet" or better "eDiet". Americans with the obicity up to 60% of the population should give a book to the ethiopian way of staying slim. Again, both authors are not in "Food Buisness" (although, Esther spent 5 years as a manager at McDonalds). We can provide you with the hard data about the nutritional breakdown for the recipes, but you may notice right away, the ingridients of the dishes are different from the traditional American mode. No cakes? (Yes, Ethiopians do have cakes). Perhaps, the injera pages can explain it all -- "Ethiopian Bread" is the key to the attitudes of the "eKitchen." Second, it's not only what you eat, but how! Well, if you cook it yourself, you know what you eat. Another secret, is how you cook it.
But the most intresting -- how you eat. Here are several special features. Ethiopians eat with their hands. What a shocker for a first time experience in an Ethiopians restaurant! But think about it. Forget the manners! Why does a child eat with his hands? because "touch" is the first encounter with something which will become a part of you in a second. Is it too hot, too cold, or soft? Oh, the primitive wisdom
Another part of the "ceremony" -- you're fed. The food is given to you by the hands of another -- childhood memories again? But dosen't say about the trust, which must be at the table? About love, intimacy, about the leaving the world of danger, the world outside...
Now, about "How Often" -- The biggest secret of all. Unlike American holidays, when we are supposed to over eat. The religious holidays were about the time, when we fast. Look at the ancient logic. We celebrate, we made it -- why should we worry about our flesh now? On the contrary, now we can relax, we can skip a meal, we are fine! Traditionally, the church asks you to fast on wendsday and friday, know that glutany is a mortal sin and we like to eat as much as we can... but if everything is fine, if we had our meal yesterday and the day before yesterday, week and month ago, most likely we eat too much. Not a revelation, if you know the way of nature; nobody says -- "I have eaten enough this year,I can skip a meal today."
Not to eat for a day? Two days? Each week! Don't panic. "Not to eat" -- WHAT! We didn't say not to breath.
Why are there so many holidays and do we need to know the names of the Ethiopian Saints? No, but it helps. When you know why you do what you do. Our body needs some help from our brain, from the visual, from the imagination.
... About the pictures. Imagination? Imagine that food will be invisible. Would you like it?
Two more senses to cover -- taste and smell. The best, try Ethiopian food, cook it -- and read this book again. Taste -- hot! It's obvious and enough is written about the Horn of Africa "spicy" food, but do you know why it's spicy?
Yes, to preserve it without putting in the "preservatives"! The natural way to safety without the "chemicals" -- the old fashion way of conservation.
"Smells good!" What do we mean by that?
Sorry, this is too much for preface. We will return to the topic later. How about the snell of the food queen Sheba cooked for Solomon? The basis of the cullinary fantacies in the classic text "Kebra Negast," the Glory of Kings. Of course, you see the references to the story in the Bible, but this love story was too spicy and hot for the holy book, perfect for the cookbook...
Okay, the point is that the recipes are boring as chemistry textbooks, but should it be? It's about food, my friends! No, enjoy it!
ETHIOPIAN GINGER VEGETABLESAmount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method -------- ------------ -------------------------------- 5 ea Green chiles -- skin,seed,chop 1 t Fresh ginger -- grated 6 ea Small potatoes -- cubed 1/2 lb Green beans 4 ea Carrots -- cut in strips Water 2 md Onions -- quartered, separated 2 tb Olive oil 2 cl Garlic Salt and pepper to tastePlace potatoes, green beans, and carrots into boiling salted water, cover, and cook 5 mins. Remove veggies and rinse.
Saute the chile and onion in oil until soft but not brown. Add the ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper and sautee 5 mins. Add the rest of ingredients, stir well, and cook over medium heat until veggies are tender. [ From The Fiery Cuisines ]