ethiopian food, #ssekobravery & other rambles

myth: injera is hard to make.ethiopian injera and kik alika // kitsch+camerai was shocked to discover just how simple this deliciously spongy, ethiopian “bread” actually is to make! it’s naturally gluten-free too, if you’re into that.

since moving to portland, i’ve become pretty obsessed with ethiopian food. teff flour is now a pantry staple, so that i’m able to whip up a batch of injera anytime. (it turns out it pairs well with non-ethiopian food too… guacamole & injera, for instance, i highly recommend.)ethiopian injera and kik alika // kitsch+camerafor the past six (dang! 6 already…) months, i’ve been working for a company called sseko designs. it’s an incredibly inspiring company that i am proud to be a part of. at its simplest, sseko employs super bright women in uganda who have graduated from college but cannot afford to go on to university. by working at the sseko workshop for 9 months making sandals and accessories, they can afford a college tuition (through their earnings and through a scholarship fund that sseko sets up for them.) seriously, if every retailer built their business model around this form of sustainable economic development, the world would be a much better place (and purchase power would actually be just that).

i’ve learned so much from my time at sseko so far…and i’ve been exposed to so many amazing opportunities. i got to meet katie from houndmouth during my first weekend on the job at sasquatch, i worked with pro food blogger ali at gimmesomeoven to do a little sseko giveaway (huge fan of hers), and the other day i got to wander out to a beautiful old farmstead outside the city for a festive holiday shoot. but what’s most resonated with me has been the incredible network of women i’ve met.ethiopian berbere // kitsch+camerathrough sseko, i’ve learned that there are many impressive and inspiring women out there. women who see the bigger picture, women who strive to make a difference in their communities, and women who aspire to be the best version of themselves. these women are members of the sseko brave collective, or #ssekobraves. by being a part of this community, i’m constantly challenged (in the best way possible) to be the best version of myself…a version that these women would be proud of. it sounds strange to say, as i’ve hardly met any of them in person.

hey, i told you there were going to be rambles…ethiopian berbere // kitsch+cameraanywho, sseko just released a new (beautiful) footwear collection, and every item in the collection was crafted in ethiopia. so i’ve been talking (and dreaming) about ethiopia a lot lately. it’s now been added to my (long) list of countries left to visit!

coincidentally, there is a bomb ethiopian food cart just around the corner from my office. it’s awesome, and the spices…mmm the spices! earthy cloves and spicy cayenne and sweet with that hint of cardamom and cinnamon. and did i mention that you’re supposed to eat it with your hands!? yes.

making up a batch of injera does require some foresight though — this baby needs to ferment for 24+ hours. but that’s the toughest part, i promise!

i’ve recreated two other ethiopian dishes here, as well. one is spicy chicken with berbere, a traditional ethiopian spice blend. the other is kik alika, or stewed split peas with turmeric. both are equally straightforward to make…and complement one another quite nicely. i encourage you to give them a try! ethiopian may sound intimidating to cook, but i assure you — it’s not that hard!

enjoy!ethiopian injera and kik alika // kitsch+camera

ETHIOPIAN INJERA RECIPE yields 4-6 {gluten-free, vegan}

adapted from yumuniverse

//ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups teff flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

//directions:

  1. in a large bowl, combine teff flour and water. cover with a cloth, and set aside overnight (12-24 hours).
  2. after 12-24 hours, you should see the mixture looking quite bubbly. stir, adding in the baking powder and salt.
  3. heat coconut oil in a large skillet to medium-high heat. add injera batter to coat the bottom of the pan. cover with a lid and cook 5-8 minutes, until the top is bubbly and the edges are crisp and just starting to curl up.
  4. remove from heat and transfer to a plate. repeat with remaining batter. the mixture should yield 4-6 injera total, depending on the size of your pan!

ETHIOPIAN BERBERE BLEND yields 1/8 cup

//ingredients:

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp all-spice
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt

//directions:

  1. mix together coriander seeds, fenugreek, cloves and peppercorn. transfer to a skillet and dry saute for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
  2. transfer to a mortar & pestle and grind spices into a blend.
  3. add the remaining dry spices and mix together. voila! you have berbere. this will make ~1/8 cup.

QUICK SHREDDED CHICKEN WITH BERBERE* yields 4 servings

*i feel that i should mention that this is totally a recipe that i made up as a quicker alternative to doro wat (ethiopian chicken stew), and isn’t a true reflection of traditional ethiopian food. however, in my opinion, it tastes ethiopian and is super yummy! plus, it couldn’t be easier to make.

//ingredients:

  • 2 6-oz chicken breasts, cooked (to cook, you can simply roast it in the oven with a touch of olive oil beforehand)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 2-in. piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Berbere spice blend (homemade or store-bought)

//directions:

  1. cook chicken beforehand, then shred it into long thin pieces.
  2. chop onion. dice garlic & onion.
  3. in a small skillet, saute the onion in olive oil for 1-2 min. add garlic, ginger, tomato paste and berbere blend. saute 5 to 8 minutes, then add the shredded chicken. stir together, and saute an additional 2 to 3 minutes. remove from heat.

KIK ALIKA* {gluten-free, vegan}

*also worth mentioning that this has been adapting from the traditional ethiopian dish! loosely based on this recipe, here.

//ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried yellow split peas
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt

//directions:

  1. chop onion. dice ginger & garlic.
  2. heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven.
  3. add split peas and 3 cups water, then turn heat to high and bring to a boil.
  4. once boiling, reduce heat and stir in cardamom, turmeric and coconut milk.
  5. simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peas are mushy and tender.
  6. remove from heat and serve on top of injera, alongside chicken. garnish with mint or basil!

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