It is unique already because delicacies made from real camel meat and dishes made from spiders and locusts fried in palm oil wonderfully coexist in it. They also prepare coffee with an amazing aroma. According to one of the legends, this country is his homeland. Therefore, Ethiopians not only know a lot about it, they also associate its use with many ceremonies in which tourists willingly take part.
History and features
Despite the fact that Ethiopia is located on the African continent along with other states, the cuisine of this country developed somewhat in isolation, although it gradually absorbed the traditions of other peoples.
It is called rich and original, and there is a simple explanation for this: the country has a tropical climate that creates favorable conditions for growing all kinds of crops. In addition, camels, sheep and goats are bred here, and they eat not only the results of their labor, but also the gifts of nature. And the latter means not only fish dishes, but everything in order.
Striking features of Ethiopian cuisine:
- The spiciness of dishes… Crushed red peppers, garlic, onions, mustard, thyme, ginger, coriander, cloves and other spices are essential ingredients in many local dishes. And all because they have bactericidal and disinfecting properties and literally save Ethiopians from gastrointestinal ailments that arise as a result of the rapid deterioration of food in the sun.
- Lack of cutlery. It so happened historically that the population of Ethiopia does not need them. After all, they are replaced by teff cakes called “figs”. They resemble our pancakes in the way they are cooked and in appearance. For Ethiopians, they replace plates and forks at the same time. Meat, cereals, sauces, vegetables and whatever your heart desires are laid out on them, and then pieces are pinched off from them and, along with the contents, are sent into the mouth. The only exceptions are knives, which are served with pieces of raw meat.
- Posts. In this country, they still live according to the Old Testament and fast about 200 days a year, therefore the local cuisine is called vegetarian.
- Meat dishes. The fact is that they are prepared here from lamb, poultry (especially chickens), beef, snakes, lizards and even the tail of a crocodile or the foot of an elephant, but pork is never used for these purposes. And this applies not only to Muslims, but also to Christians of the Ethiopian Church.
- Fish and seafood. They are popular in coastal areas.
- Vegetables, fruits, legumes. Poor Ethiopians eat potatoes, onions, legumes, herbs and herbs. The wealthier can afford melons, watermelons, papayas, avocados, bananas, fruit in syrup, or mousses and jellies made from them. Another difference between the two strata of the population is the taste of cooked food. The fact is that the poor people often overcook what they have not eaten the next day and serve it under the guise of a new dish.
- Millet porridge. There are plenty of them here, because, in fact, they replace local vegetables.
- Mandatory presence of cottage cheese on the table, as it is used here to fight heartburn.
Basic cooking methods:
Perhaps all Ethiopian dishes for a tourist seem unusual and original. But the Ethiopians themselves are proud of several that rightfully bear the title of national:
- Indzhira. Those same cakes. The dough for them is prepared from water and teff flour obtained from the local cereal – teff. After mixing, it is left to sour for several days, thereby eliminating the need to use yeast. They are baked on an open fire on a mogogo – this is a large clay baking sheet. According to tourists, the taste of figs is unusual and rather sour, but scientists assure that the cereal from which this cake is made is rich in a lot of vitamins and microelements. Moreover, they not only saturate, but also cleanse the body, and also normalize the blood composition.
- Kumis is a dish made from fried pieces of beef or lamb, which are served in a spicy sauce.
- Fishalarusaf is a chicken dish in a spicy sauce.
- Tybs – pieces of meat fried with green pepper, served on figs and washed down with beer.
- Kytfo is raw meat served as minced meat.
- Tage is a honey brew.
- Spiders and locusts fried in palm oil.
- Tella is a barley beer.
- Wat is a stewed onion with boiled eggs and spices.
- A dish that is a piece of raw meat from a freshly killed animal and is served at a wedding to the young.
- African eggs are a treat for tourists. It is a toasted slice of bread with ham and soft-boiled chicken egg.
Coffee. The national drink, which in Ethiopia is literally called “the second bread”. Moreover, here he is also a way of communication. Therefore, the average Ethiopian drinks about 10 cups a day – 3 in the morning, then at lunchtime and in the evening. Less than three cups is considered disrespectful to the owner of the house. They call it that: first coffee, medium and weak. There is an opinion that this is also due to its strength. Thus, the first brew is for men, the second for women, and the third for children. By the way, the process of making coffee is also a ritual that is carried out in front of everyone present. The grains are roasted, ground, and then cooked in an earthenware vessel that is considered a family heirloom and is often passed down from generation to generation. And the very word “coffee” comes from the name of the Ethiopian province of Kaffa.
Breadfruit that tastes like gingerbread.
Health Benefits of Ethiopian Cuisine
It is difficult to unambiguously characterize Ethiopian cuisine. Many consider it unhealthy due to the lack of abundant vegetables. This is also proved by the fact that the average life expectancy of Ethiopians is only 58 years for men and 63 years for women, although it depends not only on the quality of nutrition.
Nevertheless, people who once tasted Ethiopian food fall in love with them. And they say that the local cuisine is wonderful because it is devoid of snobbery and arrogance, but rich in warmth and cordiality.