Saturday, November 17, 2012

Almost Ethiopian Food -- Recipes for a Kinda Doro Wat (Chicken and Egg Stew) and Kale and Mushroom Saute

Kay's vintage cookbook.
I find my friends Welch and Kay Warren very inspiring in so many ways, but their recent visit to Ethiopia really had a major impact on me. They brought back stories about people, places and food that were vivid and involving. Their connection with Ethiopia goes back decades, since Kay had been among the first Peace Corps volunteers there in the 1960s. She generously shared an Ethiopian-American cookbook she brought back from that experience with me that really added insight into traditional ingredients and techniques.

I've made some adaptations in those traditional ways, however. Berebere, a basic spice mixture, can be hard to find, although more and more markets are carrying it and it is available online from a variety of resources.  Just in case you are like my friend Sam and live far from a specialty market, you can't wait for the spice to be delivered by UPS or you get the urge to cook this when the stores aren't open, I've given an alternative based on chili seasoning.  

An important component of any Ethiopian meal is injera, the teff-based, fermented flat bread used as a platter as well as a way to scoop up the food and eat it.  (Traditionally, Ethopian food  is eaten with one's hands.)  It is available in some specialty stores and can be bought to-go from Ethiopian restaurants, but these dishes taste just as good served with crusty bread, ladled over rice or millet and eaten with a fork.

My local resource for Ethiopian products also has a thriving mail order business for spices and other ingredients and I recommend Brundo very highly.  If you are in the Oakland, CA, area, try Brundo's affiliated restaurant, Cafe Colucci and consider attending one of the organization's excellent Ethiopian cooking classes.  The Brundo website also has many Ethiopian recipes.   I buy my injera from them as well.  I have noticed that local Whole Foods and other specialty supermarkets have started carrying a packaged brand of injera (sometimes spelled enjera) from Sheba Foods of Oakland (watch for the opening of Sheba's online store).

The recipes below were adapted to celebrate the Ethiopian Jewish holiday of Sigd (celebrated earlier this week) which commemorates the acceptance of the Torah.  Accordingly the recipes have been adapted to not mix meat with dairy products.  The chicken recipe is my verison of a wat (also spelled wot), or stew.  The kale dish is based partly on some the the vegetable dishes I've eaten at Cafe Colucci and elsewhere and Welch's description of a dish he ate with gusto during their recent trip to the country.
Chicken and Egg Stew
(Kinda Doro Wat)
Serves 4-6

Although a more authentic recipe would use spiced clarified butter and not offer a substitute for the berbere, this very satisfying dish is firmly rooted in Ethiopian seasonings and cooking technique. 

3 lbs. chicken thighs, bone-in
Juice of 1 lemon
6 cups chopped red onion
1/2 cup water
2-3 Tbs. spice mix (see recipe below) or berbere
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup spice oil (see recipe below) or canola oil
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. plus 1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

Place chicken in bowl, add lemon juice and cover with water.  Let sit 1 hour.  Place onion in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes until onions are softened and beginning to color. (Yes, you cook the onions without oil at first.) Add 1/2 cup water, spice mix, garlic, ginger, spice oil, pepper, salt and 1 Tbs. tomato paste. Mix and add drained chicken (discard lemon water) and stock.  Stir.  Raise heat to high, bring to a simmer, cover and adjust heat.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.  Uncover and keep at simmer.  Mix in 1 Tbs. tomato paste.  Prick eggs with fork, add to stew.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is done. (If necessary, remove chicken and eggs. Boil down sauce, stirring frequently, until it is thick but still a bit soupy.)  Remove chicken skin before serving if desired.
Kale and Mushroom Sauté
Serves 2-3 as main course, 4-6 as a side dish

Beef this vegan dish up by adding 2 cups of cooked lentils when you add the water and tomato paste, adding additional tomato paste and water to taste. 

2 cups chopped red onion
1/2 cup plus 1 cup water
2 Tbs. spice mix (see recipe below) or berbere
1/4 cup spice oil (see recipe below) or canola oil
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. small brown or white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 bunch (1/2 lb.) kale, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

In a large skillet, cook onions until softened and beginning to color, stirring often.  Add 1/2 cup water, spice mix, spice oil, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Add mushrooms and sauté until just softened.  Add 1 cup water and tomato paste.  Stir. Add kale.  Sauté until cooked through.  Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes.  
Spice mix --  Mix together the following ground spices:  4Tbs. chili seasoning powder, 2 Tbs. paprika, 2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. each cardamom, dried ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, black pepper and allspice.  Store in airtight container.
Spice oil -- Heat 1/2 cup canola oil until hot.  Turn off heat.  Add 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger, 1 tsp. chopped fresh garlic, 2 Tbs. chopped onion and the following ground spices: 1/4 tsp. turmeric, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. cardamom.  Once cool, strain, discarding solids.  Store in airtight container.
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Adapted from my column which originally appeared in j. weekly.

1 comment:

George Roche said...

I love the kale and mushroom saute recipe. I want to mention that we just kicked off a funding campaign for our company - Small Small - which is focused on bringing delicious Ethiopian spices and sauces to the US and sharing a portion of every sale to teach modern ag in the region. We're starting with berbere and a sauce inspired by awaze: http://bit.ly/WSXk5W :)

Our site is www.buysmallsmall.com to learn more too. I'd love for you to try our berbere next time you make Ethiopian!