Friday, August 10, 2012

Traditional Ethiopian Food

Last March Alan and I experienced our local traditional Ethiopian restaurant, The Queen of Sheba, in Tampa for the first time on our anniversary:

The cook here at Levi and Jessie's house, Workay, prepares traditional food at least once a week.  Of course, this is the favorite meal for Yohannes and Paulos.  The next two pictures are of food she has made.  Injera, used to pick up the other foods, is on the left, rolled up.  Shiro is eaten daily by everyone here.  It is made from shiro spice- powdered chickpeas usually.  Two main types are red and white. The shiro or other food is put on top of the injera. There are no utensils when eating Ethiopian food.  You use your fingers.  Our youngest, Paulos, still has a lot of trouble using a fork. 

Here is the shiro on top of injera on one of our plates:

Teff is a tiny grain (150 grains weigh only as much as a kernel of wheat) with a distinctive flavor. Native to northern Africa, it has been a staple of Ethiopian cooking for thousands of years, and it is the main ingredient in the traditional flat bread called injera. Teff is now grown in the United States, primarily in Idaho. Because teff is gluten-free, it’s a good choice for people who need to avoid gluten and wheat. (

This is a teff field.

The tiny grain sits in a bowl before grinding:

This is injera after being cooked.  It has a spongy texture and is slightly sour.

We have had the opportunity to eat a lot of traditional food in Ethiopia, and our favorite place to do that is a traditional Ethiopian restaurant with dancing.  It's so fun!  We took Alan's parents to one of those restaurants during their visit.

The girls sat on one side of a small table and the boys on the other.

We were able to attend on a night when other America World families were in town and were also eating at the same restaurant.  Paulos was happy to sit with his friend, Nahome, who has been adopted by our friends the Krohn family.  Tausha Krohn is the person who delivered our very first care package to Yohannes and Paulos back in the spring.

Traditional Ethiopian dancing involves a lot of bouncing, head swinging, and shoulder thrusting.

A few people were called up front to dance at different times during the program, and Alan was one of them!

He was not too bad and had a great time hamming it up!

The moves were amazing- they definitely did things I could not do!

Before the food is served at a traditional restaurant, the waiters come around with bowls and a pitcher of water and everyone washes their hands under the pitcher. 

Food is served family style on a large platter set on the small table.  Everyone eats off of the platter.  My favorite Ehtiopian dish is Gomen, made from collard greens.

If you have a chance to try some traditional Ethiopian food, do it!  The restaurants in America are fun and at the end you can usually participate in a traditional coffee ceremony.

Today I am thankful for: a husband who plays soccer with our children and lets me go to Zumba to burn off some stress along with my calories, the washing machine in the house we're living in, and an encouraging message from another AWAA mom of older adopted children who has dealt with some of the things we're dealing with now (thanks, Jen).

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