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.


Alicia said...

Bah! never believe the number of servings of a recipe... So this "fish" is sort of a chickpea flour polenta?
Because I have 1 kg gram flour in my pantry...

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

I've heard great things about that Papa Tofu cookzine; AND about Ethiopian food (I have yet to experience either, haha) - looks like such a delicious, hearty dish!

Doesn't look like too much food to me - enjoy! :0)

J said...

That sounds pretty good.

(I wouldn't be concerned about your plate, I don't think you ate too much!)

Anonymous said...

Most likely I'm going to sound like a total bitch Bianca but please keep in mind
1) I probably am a bitch & I'm being honest
B) I know all of your Memphis peeps will disown you if you get fat
3) If you get fat it's OK & I'll still be your friend. I've been there before & can offer moral support when needed.

Having said that,I'd say that it looks like a fair amount of greens but like three too many chickfish things. Depends though on the overall size of the plate & whether or not you'd be having cobbler for dessert.
Please tell your Granny that I FREAKIN LOVE HER & want my own version of her for my birthday (September 20 BTW)

Anonymous said...

PS you're the best don't hate!!!!!

Marisa L. S. said...

Looks yummy! I love Ethiopian food!

Ever look at the number of servings that come in a tofu package? According to the box, its 4 or 5. When I measure it out, its like 2 slices each! Even though I could easily eat half the container in one sitting, technically speaking, your protein should account for about 1/3 of your plate.

Unknown said...

Hey Bianca!
When I made the serving suggestion, I was assuming you would have several w'ets on the platter instead of just two! You're doing fine and thanks for blogging about PT!


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Oh please please please come cook for me!

Ethiopian food is my favorite!!!

Theresa said...

I think I could eat twice as much as what you have on your plate! I love love love ethiopian food, so i must get that zine!