Ethiopians’ have unique and original verities of culinary delights;”injera” and “Wot” are the most prominent. Injera is the heart of every meal in Ethiopia. The national dish of Ethiopia is locally known as “Wot”usually a hot spicy stew which comes in many varieties. Together with the meal,Ethiopians enjoy a variety of drinks like Coffee, Tej, Tella, Arake e.t.c.
Injera is a sour and spongy round bread, made of teff flour, that’s naturally vegan and gluten-free. Sauces and dishes are commonly poured on top of the injera, which is then used as a vehicle to get the deliciousness from table to mouth. Injera has a very strong taste and texture — so when you like it, you love it, and it’s hard to put down.
2. Doro Wat (Chicken Stew)
This rich chicken stew is one of Ethiopia’s most famous dishes. We were told that when an Ethiopian girl wants to marry, she has to make doro wat for her fiancé’s family as a demonstration of her culinary proficiency and thus worthiness to be chosen as a wife. While this traditional cooking exam may still hold in rural areas, it is quickly dying out in Ethiopian cities.
Doro wat takes forever to make, which is why it is often only served during holidays and on special occasions. It involves slow cooking red onions, berbere and chicken parts for hours, until just the right consistency and blend of flavors has been achieved.
3. Yetsom Beyaynetu (Vegetarian Mixed Plate)
Also known as a fasting platter, yetsom beyaynetu is a mixed vegetarian plate that usually includes several types of lentil and split pea stews (e.g., misir wat, alecha kik or mesir kik) with kale (gomen) and a spicy tomato stew (sils). Talk about a vegetarian – if not a vegan — dream.
4. Shiro wot
Shiro is a delicious chickpea powder-based dish (sometimes also including lentils and broad beans), slow-cooked with Ethiopia’s popular — and spicy — red berbere sauce. There are several kinds of shiro to enjoy, from the soupy thin shiro wot to the thick and glob-like (but still delectable) shiro tegamino.
5. Maheberawi (Meat Mixed Plate)
Ethiopian meat-based mixed plates usually combine several stews like key wat (beef stew), tibs(lamb, beef or goat cubes cooked with nitter kibeh and herbs like rosemary), and kitfo (raw ground beef). We highly recommend ordering one of these and sharing it with at least two to three people.
Kitfo is a big treat for the ordinary Ethiopian. The leanest meat is reserved for this dish, which is then minced and warmed in a pan with a little butter, berbere and sometimes tosin (thyme). It can be bland and disgusting, or tasty and divine. If you’re ravenous after a hard day’s travelling, it’s just the ticket, as it’s very filling. A tip? Ask for a heap of berbere on the side. Traditionally, it’s served just leb leb (warmed not cooked), though you can ask for it to be betam leb leb (literally ‘very warmed’, ie cooked!). A kitfo special is served with aib and gomen (minced spinach). In the Gurage region (where it’s something of a speciality) it’s often served with enset (kotcho; false-banana ‘bread’). Kitfo beats (restaurants specialising in kitfo) are found in the larger towns. Another favourite meat dish of ours is siga tibs, which consists of small strips of fried meat served with onions, garlic and spices.
T’ej is a honey wine (mead) that has been brewed in Ethiopia for centuries. It is bittered with gesho leaves and twigs. Gesho is kind of like a hop and falls into the buckthorn family. The gesho also gives it a unique direction of flavor. T’ej is usually homebrewed in Ethiopia. However, there are tej betoch (Tej houses) throughout the country. Traditionally, it is served in a berele container but a pint would be just fine. It is best served chilled and goes well with spicy food. This is one of the more delicious weird alcoholic drinks that can be brewed at home.
Talla is an Ethiopian home-brewed beer which differs from the others in some respects. First it is brewed with barley or wheat, hops, or spices. Secondly, it has a smoky flavour due to the addition of bread darkened by baking and use of a fermentation vessel which has been smoked by inversion over smoldering wood. Talla is not processed under government regulations hence the alcohol content varies but is usually around 2% to 4%. Filtered tella has a higher alcohol content ranging from 5% to 6%.