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I was inspired on my trip home to NYC  this month to enjoy a meal with friends at the Queen of Sheba restaurant on 10th Avenue.

Why so inspired? In addition to healthy eating with great taste and value is also high fiber and spice combinations of cardamom, paprika and cumin .  Ethiopian may not be on the radar for dining in the American culture but this cuisine is sure to please.  The high fiber content eludes most people, who dine in restaurants today. All dishes are served with Injera, a pancake which makes it easy to scoop the meal and eat with your hand. They use a combination of spices called Berbere (about 12 of them!)  t0 to make a wonderful solo taste for your palate.

This cuisine is worth trying due to wheat free ingredients, cooked greens and legumes, chickpeas and lentils. Maybe not so much IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) among Ethiopians with their higher fiber content low gluten and cooked greens. Will check that out. Also easy to prepare with standard ingredients from the supermarket. Keep the berbere on hand, a spice combination to be used in the cooking and their vinaigrettes. I had the Salata, a mixture of tomatoes and avocado and some red onion, and a vinaigrette of oilive oil, lime juice, a little green chili and a pinch of the Berbere seasoning. An excellent side salad.

The basic Ethiopian pancake called Injera, tastes like sourdough bread but thin like a crepe, made with the ancient grain Teff.  If  you are not able to obtain freshly made teff pancakes in an Indien- African grocer, substitute pita or lavash. Nutrition facts:  1/2 cup of teff cooked has 7 grams of protein, and can be eaten as porridge (cooked cereal). Provides iron unlike other grains, calcium and Vitamin C.

I had a dish called Kitfo a classic dish of cubed beef and collard greens . The dish utilizes berbere seasoning: note: I use ground spices if whole spices and a spice grinder not available.

  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

Mix all together in a glass jar and store with your other spices. When ready to use add a couple of drops of olive oil to make a paste.

KITFO

1 lb of inch cubed sirloin or tenderloin beef

1 lb of collars greens prepared and set aside.

1 onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 teaspoon of fresh ginger minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small green chili or  1 tablespoon of canned chilis, mild or medium heat

1 teaspoon of berbere seasoning

1 tablespoon pf lemon juice

Saute the onion until translucent, add the garlic and ginger and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add the cubed beef and Berbere seasoning and continue to cook for 5 minutes until the meet is done and fork tender. Add the slightly cooked collard greens in the end and mix thoroughly. Remove from the heat add the lemon juice and serve with Injera bread, pita or lavash.

Ethiopian Tomato Avocado salad

2 tomatoes chopped

1 avocado chopped

1/2 cup of chopped red onion

1 teaspoon green chilis

vinaigrette:

lemon juice of one lemon

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

pinch of sugar

1/8 teaspoon red cayenne pepper

a pinch of berbere seasoning

Mix all together and pour over the tomatoes, avocado and red onions.

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