Vegan MoFo continues, and this week Ashley and I are blogging vegan dinners for fuelling your active lifestyle!
My favourite food in the whole wide world is Ethiopian food. I first went to an Ethiopian restaurant when I was living in Denver, and was immediately hooked. So when I returned home to Toronto it was my mission to find good Ethiopian food — and luckily, that’s not a problem around here!!! (My favourite is Lalibela — they have gluten-free injera and THE BEST shiro wat [chickpea stew]!)
Ethiopian food is served family-style, on a big platter covered in a large, round, savoury flatbread called injera. Scoops of savoury lentil and veggie dishes are placed around the injera. Injera is traditionally made with teff flour, and the batter is fermented, which gives it a sourdough flavour, and lovely bubbles. Either you love it or you don’t, I’ve discovered, and I can’t get enough of it. You then eat with your hands, using the injera to scoop up the lentil and veggie stews.
I’ve tried to make Ethiopian food at home, and it’s always been SUCH A BIG JOB to create several different lentil dishes, ferment batter for injera ahead of time, and get it all done in time for dinner. I love doing it, but I haven’t been cooking Ethiopian a lot lately, because of all the work!
So today, I thought that in between students (and during FaceTime calls — Hi, Mum and Dad!!!) I’d prepare a one-pot Ethiopian stew, and some quicker flatbreads: Teff-Chickpea Crêpes in place of injera.
When you serve this stew, you can put a big scoop of it on a crêpe, which is my favourite option — you’ll eventually end up with a bit of soggy crêpe, which is way more appealing than it sounds!
I am REALLY impressed with these crêpes… they’re not quite injera, but they’re totally delicious, and roll up without cracking. They have the little bubbles (from baking soda instead of proper fermentation) and a bit of the sourness (from the lemon juice) of injera. I also love that you get a little more protein from them, as they are made of half chickpea flour, along with the traditional teff flour.
You can buy the Berbere Spice Blend, or make it in advance to save time… typically Berbere includes onion and garlic powders, but I don’t keep them in my kitchen. So I leave them out of my spice blend but include minced onions and garlic (and ginger!) in my Ethiopian stews.
You can decide just how many dishes you want to make for your Ethiopian dinner — we had our Ethiopian Lentil Stew & Teff-Chickpea Crêpes tonight along with collard greens (sauteed in grapeseed oil with Berbere & slices of garlic) and a little salad (Romaine with fresh tomatoes from my cousin’s garden (!) and a lemon vinaigrette). And for seconds, Mr. KitchenOperas just had a bowl of stew. I’m so looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow!
Ethiopian Lentil Stew & Teff-Chickpea Crêpes
Berbere Spice Mix
Makes about a 1/2 cup.
- 12 cardamom pods
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3 Tablespoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
Open up the cardamom pods and put the seeds into a spice grinder (or mortar and pestle), discard the pods. Add the cloves and fenugreek seeds to the grinder, and grind to a fine powder. Combine with the other spices (nutmeg, cayenne, cinnamon, allspice, paprika) and salt. Store in an airtight container.
Ethiopian Lentil Stew
- 4 small beets, peeled & chopped
- 12 small or 4 large potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
- 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 red onions, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1″ nub of ginger, minced
- 3 Tablespoons Berbere Spice Mix
- 1 (540 ml) can lentils (or 2 1/4 cups cooked lentils)
- 1 (796 ml) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (156 ml) can tomato paste
Place beets and potatoes in a medium pot, and cover with 2″ of water. Boil for 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger, and cook over low heat until the onions are translucent. Add the Berbere Spice Mix, and stir well to coat the onion mixture with the spices. Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, as well as the cooked potatoes and beets. Bring the heat to medium-high to bring the stew up to a boil. Stir frequently, to avoid scorching the ingredients on the bottom of the pot. Once the mixture has come to a boil, turn the heat back down to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Serve warm!
Makes 6 Crêpes (9″/23cm diameter).
- 1 cup teff flour
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon Berbere Spice Mix
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil, for cooking
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (teff & chickpea flours, baking soda, salt, and Berbere Spice Mix). Add the water and lemon juice, and whisk well to get rid of all the lumps. You should have a smooth batter (the consistency of heavy whipping cream). Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Heat your nonstick pan (a crepe pan is not essential, but helps) over medium heat and add about 1 teaspoon of oil. Swirl it around on the pan to distribute oil across the surface. Pour in your batter, and swirl it around to make a thin coating over the whole pan. Let it cook until there are bubbles all over the surface. Flip using a spatula (or your best crepe-flipping-while-yelling technique), and cook for another 30-45 seconds on the other side. Turn out onto a plate, and cover with a dishtowel. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Enjoy warm!