Top Ethiopian food that you should try

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First of, Ethiopia is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa and a crowd favorite travel destination. Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, is a rugged, landlocked country split by the Great Rift Valley. With archaeological finds dating back more than 3 million years, it’s a place of ancient culture. Among its important sites is Lalibela with its rock-cut Christian churches from the 12th–13th centuries. Aksum is the ruins of an ancient city with obelisks, tombs, castles, and Our Lady Mary of Zion church.

Ethiopia is a country with a wide range of geographical features. Rugged mountains, flat-topped plateaus, deep gorges, and river valleys make up the landscape. Erosion, volcanic eruptions, and tectonic shifts have all contributed to the country’s varied geography over time.

The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa. The capital is often referred to as the “political capital of Africa” since it is home to many continental and international organizations, like the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and many more groups. The capital is also home to many cultural sites like the Imperial Palace, National Palace, Holy Trinity Cathedral, and various museums. Other major cities include; Dire Dawa, Mek’ele, Gondar, and Bahir Dar.

Top 10 Ethiopian Dishes You Have To Try

It is time to get to the business of the day. As said earlier, most Ethiopian dishes can be heavy on meat and vegetables. Here are the top 10 Ethiopian dishes you should definitely try when visiting Africa, visiting an Ethiopian restaurant around you, or looking for something new for the family.

1. Injera

Injera Ethiopian dishes
Image from Wikipedia

Injera is a sour fermented flatbread made traditionally of teff wheat with a slightly spongy feel. This dish is the staple food in Ethiopia and other countries like; Eritrean, Djiboutian, and Somali cuisines, as well as other countries in the Horn of Africa.

This Ethiopian dish is often referred to as an “eating utensil” because it is mostly used to scoop up meat and vegetable stews.

This Ethiopian dish is made with teff, a small, round grain native to Ethiopia’s highlands. Teff is a gluten-free grain with a high nutritional value. As a result, Teff is not suitable for manufacturing risen bread, but injera makes use of yeast’s unique qualities. A brief fermentation period gives it an airy, frothy texture as well as a slightly sour flavor.

Teff has a symbiotic relationship with yeast, which allows the flour to be used as a starter, or in Amharic “Ersho,” without yeast additives. Many renditions of this simple starter use yeast, baking powder, mineral water, or even beer to speed up the process or enhance the results.

One can buy premade Injera in the freezers of some stores, but the best taste you will get by making this delicious Ethiopian food yourself. When making Injera take into account that the best result for homemade injera is to let the dough ferment for at least a day or two. If you can’t wait this long you can add warm water instead of cold to fasten up the process.

This Ethiopian dish can be served with these Ethiopian recipes:

  • Tikil Gomen (Ethiopian Cabbage)
  • Doro Wat (Ethiopian Chicken)
  • Atkilt (Ethiopian Cabbage and Potato)
  • Gomen Wat (Ethiopian Vegetables)
  • Berbere Spiced Chicken Breasts
  • Kik Wat (Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew)

2. Shiro

Ehtiopian dish Shiro
Image from justonegursha

Shiro, often called Shiro Wot, is an Ethiopian-Eritrean stew. Powdered chickpeas or wide bean meal are its main ingredients, which are frequently combined with minced onions, garlic, and, depending on regional preference, ground ginger or diced tomatoes and chili peppers, which makes this meal suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

In Ethiopia, Shiro is the most nourishing and affordable dish available. Sadly, people tend to consume less of the dish as they achieve higher economic and social success and status, preferring instead meat-based foods.

On the other hand, Tegabino Shiro is a type of Shiro made with heavily spiced legumes, chickpeas, field peas or fava beans, flour, oil or butter, and water brought to the boil, and then brought bubbling all the way to the table in a miniature clay pot.

Shiro can be cooked and added to shredded injera, kitcha (unleavened flatbread), or taita and eaten with a spoon; this version is called shiro fit-fit. Shiro is a vegan food, but there are non-vegan variations that use niter kibbeh (a spiced, clarified butter) or meat (in which case it is called bozena shiro).

3. Azifa

Ethiopaian dish Azifa
Image from seasaltgalleykat

Azifa is a green lentil salad that’s perfect on its own or mixed with injera.  It is also combined with lime juice, mildly hot peppers, spices, and usually goes well with any Ethiopian dish. It can be served cold as a snack and is often eaten a lot during the lent season when meat is prohibited.

To get a nice tasting pot of this Ethiopian dish, you’ll be needing; green lentils, finely chopped peppers, ginger, turmeric, lime juice, tomatoes, and some olive oil. What makes this Ethiopian dish especially great is that the ingredients are super easy to find at the food market, and most are ingredients you can easily pick up in your kitchen.

Like every other salad meal, this Ethiopian dish is very nutritious and has a lot of health benefits including; its role in easy bowel movement, reduces blood pressure, very beneficial to people looking to maintain a healthy diet and in weight loss, it contains essential nutrients the body needs to keep it healthy, and aids a lot in digestion. If you are a lover of salad dishes, then you should definitely try this Etiopand dish.

4. Tibs

Ethiopian dish tibs
Image from images.squarespace-cdn

Tibs is the name of one of the more unique Ethiopian foods. It’s a meaty, rich, and spicy-as-hell hybrid stir fry and stew that comes together in a flash. It is served with bread, rice, or, more accurately, injera flatbread.

This is one of the most popular Ethiopian dishes. It comes in a variety of forms, varying in type, size or shape of the cuts of meat used, and can be spicy or mild, with little to no vegetables. Shekla tibs, in which the strips of beef arrive at your table roasting on a clay pot heated with hot coals, is a particularly recommended variation.

Because tibs is a quick-cooking stir fry, better quality meat will make your dish taste better. If you are using any other meat cut other than the flank steak, make sure it is tender meat.

This dish is traditionally eaten with your hands, with injera serving as a “utensil” for scooping bites of food. If injera isn’t easy to make or find, rice can be used instead. Berebere is a flavoring that can be easily acquired online and is important to the recipe. It also adds a good deal of heat.

5. Doro Wat

doro-wat Ethiopian dishes
Image from ministryofcurry

Wat, Wot, and Tsebhi are Ethiopian and Eritrean stews made with chicken, beef, lamb, a variety of vegetables, spice blends including berbere, and niter kibbeh, seasoned clarified butter.

This Ethiopian dish is a celebratory chicken-based wat stew that is typically purchased from outdoor markets. To kill bacteria, the meat is soaked in water, salt, and lemon juice before being chopped into eight to twelve pieces. About five minutes before the stew is done, peeled hard-boiled eggs are added to absorb all of the savory spices and the delicate red color.

Doro wat is a must-have at any celebration, including Christmas and Easter, thanks to delicate meat, peppery eggs, and a creamy, savory sauce. Many Ethiopians abstain from eating meat for 43 days before Christmas, and on Christmas, the majority of people opt for doro wat as their favored and ultimately permitted meat-based dish.

The secret ingredient for Doro Wat is the spicy and tasty berbere. This is a blend of several other spices, they can be either whole or grounded spices.

The combination of these spices is then blended to give you the tasty, flavor-filled, and spicy seasoning that is then used to prepare this chicken dish.

The use of berbre is not just limited to the preparation of Doro Wat, you can also add some to varieties of dishes to give it a new and great taste. Who wouldn’t love to add a new spice to their collection of spices?

The process for the preparation of Doro Wat is quite a long process, this is mostly because you have to take your time to prepare the onions and some other spices together. The long cooking time does not stop Doro Wat from having a great and spicy taste.

6. Kitfo

Kitfo Ethiopian dish
Image from Wikipedia

Kitfo is a typical Ethiopian meal made with raw beef that has been freshly ground, Ethiopian butter (niter kibbeh), and spices like pepper and salt. The dish is served with a varieties of bread, with injera being a must-have at every kitfo eatery.

Kitfo leb leb refers to kitfo cooked lightly rare. Kitfo is frequently eaten with a mild cheese known as ayibe or cooked greens known as gomen, and is sometimes mixed with it. In many parts of Ethiopia, kitfo is eaten with injera, a teff-based flatbread, however kocho, a thick flatbread derived from the ensete plant, is used in traditional Gurage cuisine. As a garnish, an ensete leaf might be utilized. Kitfo is commonly regarded as a delicacy, despite the fact that it is not classified a delicacy.

Kitfo is eaten on special occasions, such as holidays; it is especially popular during Ethiopia’s annual “Finding of the True Cross” or “Meskel” celebration, which takes place on September 27.

7. Genfo

Genfo Ethiopian dish
Image from Enebla

Genfo, Ga’at, or Marca is a stiff porridge-like substance that is typically shaped into a round shape with a hole in the middle for the dipping sauce, a mixture of butter and red peppers, or pulses like sunflower, seed, nut, and flax. Barley or wheat flour is used to make gene

Thus Ethiopian dish is commonly eaten for breakfast and is made by adding dry-roasted barley flour to boiling water and stirring the concoction with a wooden utensil until it develops a smooth, yet extremely thick consistency.

After that, the porridge is moved to a bowl and a hole is made in the center, generally with a finjal (Ethiopian coffee cup). The well is stocked with berbere spices and clarified spicy butter. Although generally eaten plain, Genfo can be served with a scoop of yoghurt.

Like other Ethiopian dishes, it’s often shared and can be eaten with your hands, but it’s not uncommon to eat genfo with a fork or spoon as eating with hands can get messy. Bits of porridge from the exterior are dipped into the butter and spice mixture in the center in either case.

8. Fir-Fir (Sautéed Injera)

firfir Ethiopian dish
Image from Messy Vegan Cook

This is a typical Ethiopian breakfast. It is basically shredded leftover injera stir-fried with berbere and kibbe. The hot, carbohydrate-heavy breakfast dish could be combined with leftover shiro or meat stews. Even though injera is the main ingredient in fir-fir, it will almost certainly be served with more injera on the side.

Firfir is a meal created to reduce food waste. It’s either made with injera that’s past its prime but still edible, or it’s made with injera that’s been dried for longer storage. Every household cooks firfir slightly differently, but the key flavors of tomato base, onions, garlic, and berbere are all present (an Ethiopian spice).

This Ethiopian dish is very simple to make and can be eaten both cold and hot.

9. Kitcha

Kitch Ethiopian dish
Image from 196Flavors

Kitcha is an Ethiopian and Eritrean bread that is generally thin and unleavened (meaning it contains no yeast). Wheat flour, water, and salt are what it is mostly made with. It is cooked in a hot pan free-form until one side is cooked. This Ethiopian dish is best eaten lukewarm, and is often characterized by its chewy texture.

Then it’s taken up and turned over to fry the other side. Slight burning on both sides is common. Kitcha will take on the shape of the pan it’s cooked in (much like a pancake, though it bears no relation). It’s most commonly served in a meal known as kitcha fit-fit. The flatbread can be additionally spiced with chili and cardamom. It is usually served warm with melted butter, or used in a dish called fit-fit.

Kitcha fit-fit Ethiopian dish
Kitcha Fit-fit – Image from Taste Atlas

Fit-fit is made up of bits of kitcha, spices, and clarified butter blended into a mushy consistency. It’s sometimes served with yogurt or hot peppers and is eaten with a fork, as opposed to most Ethiopian dishes, which are eaten with the hands.

10. Beyaynetu

Beyaynetu Ethiopian dish
Image from petitworldcitizen

This is Ethiopia’s most popular vegetarian dish which translates as “a bit of every type,” hence Your injera will be buried in mounds of delectable and vibrant veggies, potatoes, curries, lentil soups, and more, creating a riot of hues and tastes.

Because of Ethiopia’s strong religious fasting and abstinence from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays, beyaynetu is widely available throughout the country and is served in everything from posh hotels to roadside food shacks. As a result, beyaynetu is a safe and simple option when traveling or confronted with a menu only printed in Amharic.

In Ethiopia, fasting doesn’t mean refraining from all food. Instead, one is to eliminate all animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) from the diet. Basically, they adhere to a vegan diet during fasting days.

Regardless of whether they are vegetarian or not, many travelers to Ethiopia declare beyaynetu to be their favorite dish.

Well, there you have it. top 10 Ethiopian dishes you should definitely try when visiting, happen to find yourself in an Ethiopian restaurant, or simply want to try a new dish at home. If you are a lover of meat and vegetables, then this should be one of your favorite articles yet.

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