I tried out an Ethiopian recipe on my family earlier this week in preparation for our church's International Dinner on Friday night. I found it in Mary Ostyn's Family Feasts for $75. She and her husband have adopted children from Ethiopia and have incorporated cuisine from that country into their family's menus.
One thing I noticed very quickly is that Ethiopian food is spicy! Cayenne pepper shows up frequently in these dishes....and in large amounts! I'm a wimp when it comes to spicy foods. I don't even like the smallest amount of heat. My eyes water and my nose runs at the hint of cayenne.
This recipe calls for a teaspoon of cayenne. The author states that to make it authentic, a tablespoon would have been used! My poor little tastebuds would have wilted from that heat. As it was, I decreased the amount even more when I made it for my family, lest my poor children never try a new dish ever again. But when I make it for the church dinner, I will use the full teaspoon because there are lots of people at church who will eat spicy foods without batting an eyelash.
The recipe calls for boneless chicken thighs to be cooked and added, but I already had shredded chicken in the freezer and felt it would be more economical to use what I had on hand.
Here's what I used:
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 onions, diced
1/2 teas ground ginger
1 TBSP sweet paprika
1 teas cayenne pepper or more to taste
1/2 teas black pepper
1/2 teas ground turmeric
2 cans crushed tomatoes
2 cups water or broth
Heat the oil in a large pot. Cook onions until they start to brown. Add the butter and cook until the onions are browned. Add the spices and stir well. Add the chicken, tomatoes, and water. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.
A traditional Ethiopian stew would also include hard-boiled eggs, one for each person, placed in the pot before serving. I didn't include the eggs because of our family's preferences.
I'm sure it's no surprise that I found this to be a bit spicy. Charles really liked it, and the kids thought the rice was the best part. We ate the leftovers for lunch the next day, and I have to say, it was much better than the night before. The flavors had a chance to mellow and blend together, making it a much more complex dish. I enjoyed it a great deal more on Day Two.
I made another batch today and will reheat it in my crockpot tomorrow night for the church dinner. I can't wait to see if anyone else likes it, too.