Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Cradle of life

So, they say many of us originated in or around Ethiopia, unless you clearly believe that god created you just as beautiful as you are somewhere in the Mid West.

So they've had plenty of time to create some interesting food. Injera aside, which seems to be a polarising force amongst people, if you like spicy food, you should love a Wat or too. 

There are a few issues with sourcing ingredients so be prepared for a hunt, or if you are lucky enough to live in Brixton a visit to the nice lady in the Reliance arcade who can sell you most of what you need.

Here's a great recipe to get started

Doro Wat 
Roughly 1 kilo of chicken - thighs and drumsticks or cut up a whole chicken

1 lemon or lime
3 large red onions (chopped - I use a food processor on pulse)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup Niter Kibbeh (you'll need to make this)
1 cup berbere
1 tsp mitmita (or more, optional)
1 tsp mekelesha

1 tsp Koraima Ethiopian cardamom
1/2 tsp ajwain,
1 tsp ground ginger
1 egg per person eating hard boiled and cooled
water, as needed
salt, to taste

Make Niter Kibeh

Chop onions and add to a dry pan. I used a big Le Creuset casserole

Cook the onions on a low heat for at least 30 minutes or more. (NO OIL) They should break down considerably. A splash of water will stop them sticking if your pan is too hot, but just go easy and all will be well.

Skin the chicken pieces . Squeeze the lemon/lime juice over the chicken and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. 

When the onions are ready, add the Niter Kibbeh, the berbere, garlic, and the spices except for the mekelesha. 

Cook the spices gently for 30 minutes over low heat. Taste for heat. To increase spiciness, add up to an additional half cup of berbere, or add some more mitmita.

Add the chicken and 200 - 400 ml of water. Just enough to almost cover the meat. 

Bring to a simmer and cook until the chicken is done, and the sauce has thickened 30-45 minutes. 

Taste for seasoning 

Add the eggs. Sprinkle with mekelesha, stir, and serve on top of injera - or more realistically rice

Monday, February 3, 2014

Meat Free Monday

If you can avoid any complicated cooking on a Monday you should. Sadly, due to an unforeseen infestation of gannets on Saturday night there's was to be no left over curry. Which led to a look for something new and that would use up things around the fridge. 

The lovely Brixton Roti lady was also missing this weekend so in homage to her, a Guyanese curry modestly adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's curry bible which I'm on a mission to cook through eventually.

Kala Chana in Brine

Two cans of chickpeas (Kala Chana if possible, and dried and cooked if you have the time) 
1 large onion - roughly chopped 
6 garlic cloves
1/2 -1 Scotch bonnet - depending on heat level you like. 
3-4 Tablespoons of oil
1 heaped Tablespoon of hot curry powder (I'm currently keeping Bolsts which is easy to get or make your own)
1 heaped Teaspoon of dry roasted and ground cumin  
4 medium potatoes peeled and 2cm cubed
Teaspoon of Salt + more to taste at the end
Green Cabbage / Spring Greens - lots - maybe a whole cabbage. just keep putting it in until you have enough. - cut the core out of the leaves and then cut the leaves into inch wide strips and then crossways to give roughly 1 inch square pieces.
Coconut Milk - Optional


1 Put the onion, garlic, Scotch bonnet and 4 Tablespoons of water in a blender and process until smooth. 

2 Heat the oil over a medium high heat. Put in the onion paste and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

3 Reduce the heat to medium low, then cover and continue cooking the paste. for another 2-3 minutes. Stir it frequently just to prevent sticking, and keep it covered between stirs.

4 Add the curry powder and the cumin, stir.
5 Add the chickpeas, potatoes, 1 Teaspoon of salt, and a pint of water or weak vegetable stock.   Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover. Cook gently, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are done to your tastes, 20 - 25 minutes.
6 Add in the cabbage and half to one can of coconut milk if you have it - if not just 200ml of hot water. Bring back to a simmer, cover and cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes, or until the cabbage is just softened. Do not over cook the cabbage.
7 Taste and add more salt and / or chillies if you need to.