Food for Thought: Teff Love

I blundered on Kittee Berns’ Teff Love on Amazon while looking for injera recipes. I don’t think I have ever seen such glowing reviews for a book. I bought it, and committed to sourcing some of the ingredients like ajiwan and nigella which are essential to Ethiopian cooking. Also picked up some teff flour and pre-mixed berbere (chili blend) at my local co-op and was off to the races.

The dishes I made for my first foray were Ye’Bamya Alicha/okra and tomato (p. 102), Ye’Misser Wot/red lentils in spicy sauce (p. 72) and Ye’Atakilt Alicha/stewed cabbage, potatoes and carrots (p. 100). These were indicated as being typical of the choices you’d find on a veggie combo platter in an Ethiopian restaurant. Indeed, they had the flavor variety I was looking for, especially because I’d taken the extra steps of making Ye’Qimen Zeyet/Seasoned Oil (p. 25) and Ye’Wot Qimen/Black Pepper Spice Mixture (p. 40). This being a vegan cookbook, I also consulted the internet and made some Key Wot/spicy beef stew to round things out.

And about the injera: I have had my own struggles with attempts to make an injera starter which I will write about at another time. But Teff Love provides a wonderful hack called Quick Teff Crepes (p. 33) which will do until the real thing comes along. Through unconventional usage of some common ingredients, this provides both the taste and texture of the spongy bread you’re familiar with.

I would buy the book for the teff crepe recipe alone, and feel very confident about the quality and reliability of the recipes as I venture deeper. (In addition to traditional Ethiopian dishes, there are some Ethiopian riffs on other cuisines, such as an Ethiopian mac-and-[vegan]cheese.) Check it out!

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