Kitfo Caprese: Cultures Combined

To understand how I dreamed up such a ridiculous thing as combining Kitfo, an Ethiopian raw steak dish and Caprese salad, the Italian classic, you must understand the level of sleep deprivation I had. A serious eating trip to Vancouver had been completed the previous day and was over 16 hours door to door, including many miles walked and more (delicious) meals than you could shake a stick at. Are you there with me yet? In this tired, half-functional state I decided to go grocery shopping. And not just anywhere, but at the high-falutin Met Market. It wasn't cheap, folks. But why would it be … [Read more...]

Iron Chef Seattle: Kitfo: (7/31/07)

When I first discovered kitfo, an Ethiopian dish involving raw ground beef, I thought I had hit food heaven. I have since been scouring the city in search of the best kitfo in Seattle, and have narrowed it down to the final two. Because dinner is not kitfo on its own, I rated each restaurant on multiple basis. Entrant 1: Dahlak is actually an Eritrean restaurant (Eritrea being a small nation which seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 and thus shares culinary tradition), and is located on Rainier, just south of the Oh Boy Oberto factory. Enrant 2: Meskel is right in the heart of Seattle's … [Read more...]

The Ethiopian Feast: Part 3– Goat meat stew

I tried to make this goat stew in the style of Doro Wat, a very common chicken dish in Ethiopia. I just like goat meat more than chicken. First off, I marinated about a half pound of goat meat chunks in the juice of one lemon, with a pinch of salt for about half an hour. This is a good time to make one hard boiled egg per person eating. In the meantime, I began cooking one onion, chopped, dry in a pot. Once it had cooked a bit (about 5 minutes) I added four tablespoons of nitter kibe, a pinch of cardamom, two tablespoons of berebere (though adjust to your own spice preference, this was quite … [Read more...]

The Ethiopian Feast Part 2: Eat your Veggies

To go along with our meaty parts of the Ethiopian feast I made two veggie dishes, both of which I have seen on most every Ethiopian menu. The first was a simple salad with a very flavorful dressing. For this, I simply chopped romaine lettuce, white onions, half a¬†jalapeno¬†and a roma tomato and tossed them in a dressing. The dressing was the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic (I said very flavorful!) with salt and pepper. The greens were a little more complicated. I was hoping to do mustard greens, but the Greenwood Market seemed to not have those, so I chose … [Read more...]

The Ethiopian Feast Part 1: Kitfo and Cheese

Kitfo, often referred to as Ethiopian steak tartar, is one of my very favorite foods in the world. It was very exciting to try my hand at this very simple dish. The first thing I did was to prepare the cheese that accompanies the meat. Because the meat is so spicy and flavorful, this bland and cooling cheese provides the perfect foil when the two elements are cradled together in a piece of injera. For cheese: 1 quart of buttermilk (I used low fat, because I do try...), cheese cloth and a bit of quark (or yogurt if you have that already), salt I poured the buttermilk into a large pan and kept … [Read more...]

The Making of an Ethiopian Feast: Shopping at Zuma

I used to live just down the street from Zuma, but I had never been there. The non-descript store front failed to call me in, and I knew where to get good Ethiopian food, and was just as happy to drive across town for it. But as I prepared to cook my Ethiopian feast, the fact that Zuma claimed to be a grocery store as well as a restaurant turned out to serve me well. I went in just after they opened, around 10:15 in the morning, and found the place empty except for a small child playing with his toys. There were two large fridges, one filled solely with giant ziploc bags of berebere, the … [Read more...]

The Ethiopian Feast: A Preview

Okay, shameless plug and ridiculous excuse all at once: Today is a big fundraiser at all CHOW Foods restaurants, so I don't have much time, but I did make the Ethiopian feast yesterday and it was absolutely AMAZING. I'm putting up the photos now, I will try to get the recipes and reports written up in the next few days. This is the whole plate: (clockwise from upper left) Salad, Goat Wot, Gomen, lab, kitfo This is a decent shot that shows the hot red kitfo up against the cooling white cheese And a close up on the goat wot. Not really a traditional thing, but I took the traditional … [Read more...]

Berebere Delicious Pasta Sauce

First of all: I don't like marinara. There, I said it. No, I don't like red sauce, and yes, that means on pizza, lasagna and pasta. Not even on my mozzarella sticks. A cardinal sin of foodie-ness? I'm okay with it. Just a little background on my quest for an alternative pasta sauce. And yes, I do love tomatoes. A little while ago we were out for a fantastic Ethiopian meal, and when they gave us our doggy bag, they gave us some berebere, the spice mixture, to go with. I've been wanting to use it for something for a while and hadn't found the right use, but when I spotted a friendly red bell … [Read more...]


I remember as a child, we used to go for Ethiopian food a fair amount. Mostly this sticks in my head because it was the only time we were not yelled at for eating with our fingers (which I'm pretty sure we did, regardless of cuisine). So when my roommate demanded I try this Eritrean place, I embraced the opportunity to use the one utensil that makes all food taste better--the hands.Despite being hidden behind the Oh Boy Oberto factory store on Ranier, we found the little hideaway fairly easily and were seated immediatley in the small room. A full bar was stocked behind us and the TV was … [Read more...]