I tried Ethiopian food for the first time when I moved to the DC area several years ago. There were no Ethiopian restaurants where I grew up. I have eaten Ethiopian food several times since then, and it has always been delicious.
Whenever I have eaten Ethiopian food, I have eaten it communally from the same dish. Various meat and vegetables were arranged in piles on the same dish. We were also served flat and airy bread.
We used the flat bread to pick up the vegetables and meat. The serving plate has a layer of the airy bread lining the plate beneath the mounds of food. It's a fun experience in addition to being delicious.
According to Wikipedia's Ethiopian cuisines page, the bread is called injera. It is a sourdough bread. It is made from fermented teff flour. Tef is a type of grass native to Ethiopia. Ethiopians usually eat with their right hand. They pick up the food with the injera.
The mounds of food are called wat. Ethiopians use berbere, a spice blend with chili pepper, in their cooking. They also use clarified butter. Another popular spice blend is marmita. It contains chili peppers, cardamom, cloves, and salt.
I found this Ethiopian dish at allrecipes.com. Most recipes for this dish did not combine tomato puree, so I omitted the tomato puree from this recipe. I also added cumin and chicken bouillon for more flavor. I added more cabbage and less garlic. The original recipe called for an entire head of garlic. I think that is too much.
The ingredients are 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon ground fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon ground numeric, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons cumin, 3 large onions, 1 pound carrots, 4 small yellow potatoes, 1 small cabbage, 1/4 cup water, and 2 chicken bouillon cubes.
I heated the oil to medium-high heat. I added the turmeric, black pepper, cloves, fenugreek, and garlic. I cooked the dry spices for about a minute. They became aromatic.
I added the chopped onions, minced garlic, salt, and grated ginger. I cooked the mixture for about five minutes. The onions become tender and translucent.
I added the chopped carrots and cubed potatoes.
I added the chopped cabbage, water, and chicken bullion. I stirred, covered the pot with a lid, and let it simmer on low heat for about half an hour. I stirred occasionally.
I didn't have injera, but I ate this vegetable dish with tortillas. It wasn't authentic, but I had to make to with less than ideal.
This dish may not look like much, but it was delicious. It had many warm and inviting spices. It was aromatic and flavorful.
The vegetables become incredibly soft and tender.
It was hearty and scrumptious. It was incredibly flavorful for being a vegetarian dish.
This was an outstanding recipe. I enjoyed it immensely.