Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Africa Is Awesome!
I made my first dish from Kittee Kake's Papa Tofu cookzine last night. The zine arrived in the mail several weeks ago, but I've earmarked so many recipes in so many books that it takes me awhile to get around to making new stuff. Papa Tofu is divided into three sections - Ethiopian food, New Orleans-style Southern cuisine, and sweets.
I love Ethiopian food, but I've always had it in restaurants or prepared by African people. I've never ventured into cooking it myself. I chose Shimbra Asa W'et (Chickpea "Fish" in a Spicy Wine Gravy) to start with. Here's a photo of the "fish" sans gravy:
These were basically fried dumplings made with besen (or gram) flour. As instructed, I fried them in patties and then cut the patties into quarters. The besen flour makes for a very firm texture that holds up well, even for leftovers the next day. According to Papa Tofu, this dish is traditionally made on holidays when meat is prohibited, hence the name "chickpea fish."
On the side are rape greens with turnips that my Granny sent home with me last weekend. She made several batches and froze them in large Ziplock bags. I thawed them out on the stove to go with this meal since greens are common in African cooking. Rape greens taste similar to collards or turnip greens, and they grow wild around these parts. Granny picks them, boils them down, and seasons them with a little sugar. So good!
Here's a picture of the chickpea fish with gravy:
The gravy is seasoned with berbere (a combination of spices that includes cinnamon, clove, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, nutmeg, and some other stuff I can't remember), seasoned soy margerine (called niter kebbah), onions, and wine. I used red wine although Kittee's recipe called for white wine. I had red wine sitting around the house and didn't want to make a special trip for 1/4 cup. It tasted great with the red wine though.
I am a little concerned that I eat way too much though because the recipe said it makes 6 to 8 servings, and I only got three servings out of it...does it look like I have too much food on my plate? Be honest.