Oh The Joy Of Eating Ethiopian!


Blog Pics 008The best way to add variety in a vegetarian or vegan diet is to eat ethnic foods. One of my favorite ethnic foods is Ethiopian. I have dined at Ethiopian restaurants in California, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D. C. Although most Ethiopian restaurants offer the same dishes, I have yet to find two restaurants whose dishes have the same flavors.

List Of Traditional Vegetable Dishes

Aterkik Alitcha – split peas prepared with light sauce
Atkilt Wot
 – cabbage, carrots, potatoes simmered in sauce 
Atkilt Salata
 – boiled potatoes, jalapeno mixed in salad dressing 
  chickpea dip mixed with lemon juice 
Inguday Tibs
 – mushroom sautéed with onions 
Fasolia – string beans and carrots sautéed in caramelized onion
 – collard green cooked to perfection with spices

Misir Wot – pureed split red lentil are simmered berbere sauce

Misir Alitcha – pureed split red lentil are simmered in mild sauce 
Shimbra Asa – chickpeas flour dumplings & cooked in wot 
Shiro Alitcha
 – mild split peas are milled together & slow cooked 
Shiro Wot – split peas are milled together and slow cooked

Salata – Ethiopian salad, dressing: lemon, jalapeno & spices

Timatim Selata – tomato salad, onions, jalapeno & lemon juice

While the same dishes are offered all over Ethiopia, the spelling of names varies slightly due to the regional variations of Amharic. Whether or not the vegetable dishes are vegetarian or vegan depends on the restaurant. Some distinguish vegan offerings on the menu and some do not.  If butter is a deal-breaker for you, I suggest you call in advance.

All of the food is served on a bed of, Injera, a bread made of Teff. The meals  are typically eaten with the hands, using Injera to pick up the food. However, the staff will provide utensils for those who prefer them. Most restaurants in the United States create their bread from a mix of Wheat and Teff. If you ask, some will make the pure Teff bread for you.

So far, my favorite Ethiopian joint is Rahel in Los Angeles. They claim to be the only all vegan Ethiopian restaurant in the United States and Ethiopia. They recreate the meat dishes using soy or tempeh. To me, the flavor of their veggies are pound per pound better than any other food I have tasted! In addition to the traditional cuisine, they offer soups, salads, vegan cheese cake and a delicious zucchini dish. They will make the Teff Injera for you, when you order. For more info visit : http://rahelvegancuisine.com/menu.html

Luckily for me, my second favorite is Ghenet Brooklyn in New York…..

Ghenet restaurant has great food and ambience…

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Appetizer Engouday Tibs….

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Clockwise left to right: Misir Wett, Shiro Aletcha, Engouday Wett, Aterkek Aletcha (My favorite Ghenet dish!)

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They also make the gluten-free Teff bread but you have to order a day in advance. My favorite Ghenet dishes are Engouday Tibs (mushrooms and green peppers, Aterkek Aletcha (more savory than at other Ethiopian spots) and Engouday Wett (mushrooms in a spicy berbere sauce). My favorite Gomen (flavorful collards) and Mesir Wett (lentils in a very spicy sauce) are at Queen of Sheba. Massawa, an Eritrean restaurant in Manhattan, makes my favorite Shiro Wott (Chick peas in a ginger sauce).

Do you have any favorites in your city? Please let me know, so I can check them out.


One Reply to “Oh The Joy Of Eating Ethiopian!”

  1. I just had Ethiopian food for the first time this year and it is truly a vegetarian paradise! The injera is amazing and I love all the veggies, legumes, and spices they use!!

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