Eritrean Spiced Bread | Hembesha


This year Ava and I brought a loaf of Eritrean Hembesha bread to the annual Martin Luther King parade. It's a random sort of thing to bring to a parade, but I'd just pulled batch #3 out of the oven and couldn't stand the thought of the bread cooling down without being able to enjoy a still-steaming, soft wedge. There are few things better than a steaming-hot piece of homemade bread.  Hembesha is no exception: the east African bread is soft and earthy with whispers of garlic, coriander, … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Eritrea


THE SCENE "It's alive!" my sister gasped. I chuckled, shrugging off the suggestion as a joke. "No look!" she said, pointing into the bowl. I brought my face closer. Just wait, she said. Bloop. Bloop. Two bubbles wiggled their way to the surface, making the blackish, scuzzy liquid quiver slightly. The scent of alcohol and yeast clung to the air. It is alive, I said, "and it smells really ... strong!" "It's totally teff" she said. We recoiled, laughing. Neither of us was … [Read more...]

Recipe: Berberé – Hot East African Spice mix


Berberé is a spicy and savory spice mixture used all over Eritrea and Ethiopia. This blend goes well with chicken, beef, or lamb, and would also be great with lentils and other legumes. I've used it with our Doro Wat (chicken stew) and Awaze Tibs (lamb stew) recipes. A few sprinkles would also be great in our Lentil Wat. Makes about 1/4 cup Ingredients: 3 cloves 1/2 tsp coriander seeds 1/2 tsp  fenugreek seeds 1 tsp cumin 1 Tbsp paprika 1/4 tsp peppercorns 1/4 tsp ground … [Read more...]

Recipe: Eritrean Hembesha-Inspired Sweet Loaf


Makes one 8" round loaf My sister and I whipped up this Eritrean-inspired sweet bread and proceeded to stuff our faces with it all day long, until even the crumbs were gone. The cumin flavor is unusual, but goes perfectly with the sweet raisins. While most Hembesha are made thin and extremely ornately, my sister and I decided to make this thick, quick and dirty version so we could spend more time playing with Ava on a balmy 70F degree day in February.  And so we could have more surface … [Read more...]

Recipe: Eritrean Lentil Stew (Wat)


Serves 4 Let's thank Eritrea for this giant, vegan bowl of deliciousness - a happy mixture of spicy lentils, offset by sweet carrots and tomatoes. The heat comes from berberé, the regional spice blend that should be added with a heavy hand. You know, for authenticity purposes. And lots of sweating. Edited to add: One of our readers posted a great tip in the comments section of our Ethiopian menu which also applies to Eritrean cooking: When I watch Ethiopian cooks in Ethiopia they chop up … [Read more...]

Fun Fact Friday: Italian Eritrea?? (poll)


I like a good surprise. Like when a nun wears pink socks. Or when a not-so-promising movie is actually funny, but - and this is very important - only because you had supremely low expectations (Men who Stare at Goats, anyone?). Consider Eritrea - a hot African land that enjoys injera, spicy berberé seasoning, and lentil wat (stew) - all regionally appropriate. All very expected. Then, look down at Eritrea's proverbial pink socks, a.k.a. a burst of Italy in an otherwise traditional African … [Read more...]

Recipe: Injera (Flatbread from Northeast Africa)


Do you dream of cleaning out your cluttered silverware drawer? Are you totally tired of your dishes? Try a happy bite of Injera, the gorgeous Teff flatbread adored in Eritrea, Ethopia, and other East African countries. Sour and funky... Injera is almost as thin as a crepe, but spongy like a pancake ... and is traditionally used both as a platter for spicy stews and to replace silverware. Three tips for foolproof Injera making: 1. Consistency Make sure the batter is almost the consistency of … [Read more...]

Menu: Eritrea


Sisters. We share the same mother, the same nose, and the same penchant for immature giggle-fits. She took me to the mall when I was too young to drive. She encouraged me not to get a tattoo. She held me strong after our brother died in 1992. She didn't blink when I dyed my hair purple at 16. And, this week? She came to pledge her support in the spiritual journey of my sweet Miss Ava. In the process she rolled up her sleeves and helped me cook our Eritrean Global Table. And she suggested I … [Read more...]