An Overview of the Tradition of Eating Ethiopian Food
Ethiopian cuisine is known for its bold, rich flavors; how it's eaten is just as important as the ingredients used to make the dishes. Eating Ethiopian food involves breaking bread with friends or family, which is symbolic of community. Ethiopian food is usually served on a single large piece of Injera (sourdough flatbread), making for a unique and interesting dining experience.
Eating Traditional Ethiopian Food
The traditional way of eating Ethiopian food involves eating with your hands – the Injera acts like a plate, scooping up and scooping down your meal in small portions at a time. All around the central piece of Injera, there are several stews (wat) such as chicken, beef, lamb, or vegetable based.
Typically there are sides like azifa (a dish made from lentils, herbs, and spices), collard greens (gomen) cooked in oil and seasoned with garlic, tomatoes, onion, spices, and potato stew.
Then some salads can range from sliced tomatoes dressed with lemon juice to slaw made from shredded cabbage or lettuce mixed with tomatoes, onions, and spicy pepper flakes.
Finally, sauces such as mitmita or berbere round out the plate – these are usually blended spice mixtures that are added to hot oil and then poured over the food giving it a zesty kick.
How to Eat Ethiopian Cuisines
When starting your meal, you can break off small pieces of Injera by hand to scoop up some wat. Alternatively, if you prefer using utensils, they will usually be provided.
A small bowl filled with water called awel will also be provided - you'll want to use this between bites to cleanse your hands, as Ethiopian food isn't eaten with utensils!
Asking for more Injera isn't frowned upon either - after all, this meal should bring people closer together through conversation and sharing their culture over food!
It's important to remember that Ethiopian food can vary depending on where you are dining; regions across Ethiopia tend to use different recipes based on their availability of ingredients so expect different flavors from city to city or region to region. So don't be afraid to explore!
Take advantage of trying different flavors - pick out dishes that stand out most, whether based on smell or appearance. While most meals will contain protein-rich wat dishes try opting for one or two vegetarian options instead, as it's common practice in Ethiopia not to include meat on certain occasions (such as during fasting days).
Lastly, no Ethiopian meal would be complete without a cup of coffee! Whether pre- or post-dinner, indulge in Ethiopia's popular brewed beverage while enjoying your last bite - buna Dabo naw. It's said that new conversations can begin after each sip, and before you know it, stories will begin flowing almost as fast as your coffee cup is drained!
The Bottom Line
So now that you know all about Ethiopian food – go out there and enjoy it for yourself! With its mix of tasty dishes combined with vibrant culture, it's no surprise why this cuisine has become so popular around the world. And with this guide in tow, you're now ready to try out authentic Ethiopian cooking just like they do back home!