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

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