Unlike the food of almost any other country, Ethiopian cuisine has grown in a vacuum, undiluted by outside forces. Its mountainous geography kept it largely isolated from its neighbors, and unlike other African countries, Ethiopia escaped European domination, except for a five-year Italian occupation/war with Italy. Only its position as a stop on ancient trade routes brought Ethiopia the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon, fenugreek, turmeric and other spices that are used so creatively.
Ethiopian food is served on centerpiece platters over injera, accompanied by plates of more injera, rolled up like so many dish towels. To eat, you simply tear off pieces of injera and scoop up bites of food. Our traditional menu incorporates beef, lamb and chicken. And due to the Orthodox Church's fasting seasons vegetrian dishes come in abundance and variety of flavors.
The flavorings are usually cooked slowly in kibe, a clarified butter with Ethiopia-grown chili peppers combining with ginger, garlic, onions, spices, basil and a host of less familiar flavorings like bishop's weed, which resembles thyme, and 'enset' (banana tree like) plant powder.
Berberie : A popular Ethiopian seasoning prepared from Ethiopian red chilli peppers, garlic, & other spice. Berbere is sun-dried then mixed with more spices & used in wetts.
Kibie : Another Ethiopian basic, Kibe is pure clarified butter seasoned with several condiments and used in traditional sauteing.
Wot : A lively sauce prepared with berbere, nitir kibe & meat, fish or legumes.
Alecha : A delicately mild sauce made from meat, legumes or beans with garlic, ginger and Ird.
Mitmita : Bird's eye red pepper spiced with cardamom & salt, usually served with Kitfo.