Ethiopian Christmas Feast

Christmas is a time of laughs and talks with full tummies and families sitting around a table. Usually, with lamb roast or other meat of choice. But, it is entirely possible to have a wonderful Christmas feast without meat. This year, we made an Ethiopian themed Christmas dinner. We cooked up Mesir Wot (red lentils cooked in berbere spice), Yekik Alicha (yellow split peas cooked), Azifa (green lentil salad), tikil gomen (sauteed carrots, cabbage, and potatoes), Ethiopian style sauteed kale, and Ethiopian green salad.

We had Ethiopian food for the first time here, in Melbourne – there are multiple areas where Ethiopian restaurants line the streets – and it blew us away. We had never tasted something like it before. There weren’t any Ethiopian restaurants in Auckland (at least none that we knew of). The dishes tasted a bit like Indian food but not quite. Each dish tasted different and together they made a symphony of tastes. All served on a bed of injera bread, which is a spongy flat bread made of teff flour.  I wanted to recreate it.

And I did! Most of the recipes below are adapted from the star.com.

IMG_3317

 

Mesir Wot (Red Lentils Stew)

Name Mesir Wot (Red Lentils Stew)
Serves 4 (but it can serve many more people if it is used as only one dish out of many)
Dr. Greger Points 3
Costs US$6
Cooking time 1 – 1.5 hours (first time) / 50 min (repeats)
Difficulty Beginner

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp berbere spice blend (125ml)
  • 1 Tbsp crushed ginger (15ml)
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic (10ml)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils (250ml), washed
  • 3 cups water (750ml), plus more if needed
  • 1/3 can of tomatoes
  • Salt to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp or 2ml)

Preparation

  1. Heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes. Careful not to burn the onions (I had to remake this after the first batch burned!)
  3. Stir in ginger, garlic and berbere, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add a bit of water if the spices start to stick to the pan. Again, be careful not to let the spices burn.
  4. Add lentils and tomatoes, and cook, covered, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 30 minutes – until the lentils disintegrate and it becomes a thick stew.
  6. Add salt and cook for a few minutes.

 

Yekik Alicha (Yellow Split Peas Stew)

Name Yekik Alicha (Yellow Split Peas Stew)
Serves 4 (but it can serve many more people if it is used as only one dish out of many)
Dr. Greger Points 3
Costs US$3
Cooking time 1 – 1.5 hours (first time) / 50 min (repeats)
Difficulty Beginner

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow split peas (250ml), washed
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (60ml)
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp (22ml) of each: crushed ginger, crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric
  • 3 cups of water (750ml), plus more if needed
  • 3/4 tsp (4ml) salt, or to taste
  • Optional garnish: thinly sliced jalapenos with seeds and/or finely chopped red capsicum (I used both)

Preparation

  1. Put split peas in a medium saucepan. Cover it with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat and let it sit in the water until ready to use.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for a minute.
  4. Stir in turmeric and then the drained split peas. Cook, stirring, for another minute.
  5. Add 3 cups of water and raise the heat to high. Bring it to a boil.
  6. Once it is at a boil, cook, stirring occasionally, and add more water if needed, until the peas are very soft and it is a thick stew/not soupy anymore – approximately 30 minutes. Garnish.

Tikil Gomen (Carrots, Cabbage, and Potatoes)

Name Tikil Gomen (Carrots, Cabbage, and Potatoes)
Serves 4 (but it can serve many more people if it is used as only one dish out of many)
Dr. Greger Points 4
Costs US$6
Cooking time 1 (first time) / 40 min (repeats)
Difficulty Beginner

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup canola oil (125ml)
  • 1/2 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, crushed (15ml)
  • 1 tsp ginger, crushed (5ml)
  • 1/4 tsp (1ml) each of: turmeric, salt, pepper
  • 1 cup water (250ml)
  • 7 – 8 cups chopped, cored, green cabbage
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped, with seeds

Preparation

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
  2. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes.
  3. Add carrots and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for a minute.
  6. Add water and cook, stirring, for a further 3 minutes.
  7. Add cabbage and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  8. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft – approximately 5 to 8 minutes.

Azifa (Green Lentil Salad)

Name Yekik Alicha (Yellow Split Peas Stew)
Serves 4 (but it can serve many more people if it is used as only one dish out of many)
Dr. Greger Points 3
Costs US$5
Cooking time 45 min (first time) / 30 min (repeats)
Difficulty Absolute beginner

Ingredients

  • 1 cup green or brown lentils, soaked overnight
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon (or more if you like)
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of mustard powder (or less, to taste)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped green chillies (to taste)

Preparation

  1. Fill a pot with water so it is about half an inch to an inch above the lentils. Cook the lentils until quite tender and until the lentils can be squashed.
  2. Drain the lentils and mash it, leaving some whole.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Ethiopian Green Salad

Name Ethiopian Green Salad
Serves 4 (but it can serve many more people if it is used as only one dish out of many)
Dr. Greger Points 3
Costs US$7
Cooking time 30 min (first time) / 15 – 20 min (repeats)
Difficulty Beginner

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) each: Olive oil, white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed ginger (2ml)
  • 1 tsp (5ml) each: salt and pepper
  • 1 tomato, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green leaf lettuce, cut lengthwise, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (capsicum), chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped

Preparation

  1. In a large salad bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, ginger, salt and pepper.
  2. Add tomatoes.
  3. Whisk gently.
  4. Add lettuce, onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Toss well and serve immediately.

 

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