Travel Tuesday: Ethiopia

One of Miss Ava’s friends, Tilda, is from Ethiopia. While she’s not exactly talking yet (she turned one in December), her parents are talking and everything they’ve said about Ethiopia makes me hungry.

They adopted Tilda last year and spent some time in the country getting to know the culture and, of course, the food. Here’s the summary: if you’re into spices, you’re in luck. They brought back bags of berberé seasoning – so much, in fact, that they didn’t think twice about giving me an entire cup of their precious stash. Almost everything is spiced with berberé seasoning [Recipe], especially the standard wat (stew) made from lamb [Recipe], chicken, lentils, or beans. Be sure to enjoy Wat with Injera [Recipe], teff pancakes that are used to scoop up the food instead of silverware.

Now, for something that Tilda’s parents did not tell me – I got this little nugget from Andrew Zimmern. In his Ethiopian episode he shares that if you’re really lucky Ethiopians will offer you raw meat. Raw meat is a delicacy – the fresher it is, the greater the honor. I watched him chow down on beef and camel, both dipped into a mixture of berberé and lemon juice. Amazing.

A totally different honor, and much more up my alley, is the Ethiopian coffee ceremony [Recipe]. This ritual uses all the senses. Green coffee beans are roasted until brown and fragrant, then ground into an intoxicating blend that is passed around so that visitors might enjoy the aroma. The resulting grounds are brewed strong and sweet and are usually enjoyed with plain popcorn [Recipe] or other snacks.

So, let’s lift our eyes to Ethiopia, the so called “roof of Africa” (because most of the country is at an elevation of 5,000-13,000 feet), and give a few cheers of thanks.

Photos: Jialiang Gao, Giustino, and CIA World Factbook.


    • We stuck to the guidelines pertty carefully while in Addis until we went to a place for lunch and without thinking, dived headfirst into the most delicious salad dish on our fasting plate. My husband also ate a GREAT number of hot peppers stuffed with a pico de gallo type of fresh mix, and we were fine. I though about taking a preventative dose of cipro, to be on the safe side, but waited to see if I needed it, and really, I have a very wimpy GI system, so I felt totally lucky! Stacie, we use the drop-ins for Meklit and have had trouble with them melting sometimes, when we’ve tried reheating the formula. We’ve had much better success adding warm water to the formula as needed. And now that she’s been home for awhile, she’s much more willing to tolerate a cool bottle too.

  1. Stephanie says

    I love Ethiopian food. So flavorful and delicious. It sounds like Eritrean food is very similar, from your post on that country. Can’t wait to hear what you decide to make!

    • Sasha Martin says

      Yes, it really is full of wonderful, intense flavors. Good stuff!

  2. elisa waller says

    When I first logged into Global table today..I saw the pictures above and thought…”Ireland” The buildings and green landscape reminded of Irish castles and rock cliffs…LOL how perfect for the month of March and St. Patricks Day!…Isnt that Ironic…that one country can remind us of someplace so different…but maybe its not so diffferent.??? Hmmm…… I cant wait to see what you make…the coffee bean concoction sound wonderful!

  3. AllspiceDC says

    Hi Sasha- I just happened upon your site (love it!) and am excited that you are focusing on Ethiopia this week. It’s an amazing place with wonderful food. If you ever get the chance to go there, you must visit one of the markets on market-day; they lay all of the spices out and the colors are stunning! Hope you enjoy the week – I’m looking forward to exploring where you’ve cooked and what’s to come.

  4. I LOVE Ethiopian food, am totally psyched to see what you do. I like wat but my favorite are the lentil and split pea dishes.

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