An Ethiopian Culinary Adventure

International Recipes


For the first time in the history of my international food project, I am presenting a cuisine that I actually did not cook for this project. I started cooking soon after I got married, learning how to do anything more complicated than boiling pasta or pan-grilling a steak by looking at recipe books. At the time I was living close to Berkeley, and the Berkeley library had a very large collection of international cookbooks. These immediately attracted my attention. One of those first cookbooks I borrowed was Daniel J. Mesfin's Exotic Ethiopian Cooking. At the time, the Blue Nile on Telegraph Ave., was one of my favorite restaurants, and I was enough of a novice to cooking in general that I wasn't afraid to attempt any recipe. That was a good thing, because while laborious, Ethiopian dishes are quite simple, and the results I got following those recipes were almost identical to the dishes at the Blue Nile. This is particularly surprising because back then I had to make my own berbere (an Ethiopian spice mix that's essential for most Ethiopian dishes).

Rather than recreate a meal with all my Ethiopian favorite dishes (which, while great, are very caloric) I decided to just share my recipes. In addition to the ones I've cooked in the past, I'm providing links to other recipes I typed up for other people.

Ethiopian food is usually eaten "family style", a huge platter is covered with injera, and the different entrees are placed on it. In the center you can put a salad. I also usually put plain yogurt, as it helps cut the spice of the sauces. Traditional injera is made from an Ethiopian grass called teff. It requires a couple of days of work, so I've never made it myself, but I've written down the recipe for anyone who wants to try to make it.

A final note. Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine are very similar, though dishes have different names. Eritrean cuisine has more of an Italian influence and pasta is a part of several of their cherished dishes.

My favorite Ethiopian dishes:

Ethiopian recipes I haven't tried: