Kick-start your engines, ladies and gentlemen. Stock your pantries for the basics of Ethiopian cooking, and soon you’ll be rotating these dishes into your weeknight menu just as you do with spaghetti, tacos, and stir-fry.
First step: Throw away your measuring cups.
Admit it; we have over-engineered the art of cooking. Although I’ll attempt to share measurements to guide you in accomplishing a basic dish, it’s truly unnecessary.
Second step: Stock up on spices and specialty goods.
If you don’t have access to a mother-in-law to provide you with homemade spices, try making your own or purchasing from an international market. Here are a few of the basics:
- Berbere (Ethiopian spice blend)
- Korarima (cardamom powder)
- Shiro (chickpea power)
- Injera (Ethiopian flat bread)
- Kibbeh (clarified spice butter)
- Mitmita (chili powder spice blend) – optional
Third step: Collect a few things at your regular grocery store.
Once you have the specialty items, the other ingredients can be bought during your regular grocery visits. These include the overly extraordinary:
- Red onions
- Cans of tomato sauce
For certain dishes, you’ll need:
- Red lentils
- Collards or kale
- Meat or fish
Fourth step: Let your fancy kitchen equipment collect dust.
So long as you have a stove pot and a knife with cutting board, you’ll be in good shape. If you’re not skilled at dicing onions, use a food processor or blender.
Let the adventure begin!