This is what an Ethiopian dinner for 5 looks like.
Let’s take a step back to explain how this spectacular food delight above was formed.
It all started with good old serendipity. I had a work opportunity arise in Washington DC. Some of my favorite cousins happen to live in DC. The Bro and Sis in Law were driving up from Miami to Boston and just happened to be planning a night’s stay in DC. And this was happening all on the same weekend. Never one to ignore the universe when it throws awesome right in my face, I turned a three day work trip into a 5 day long Rulli DC extravaganza!! And because we are Rullis, most of this extravaganza focused on eating awesome and eating awesome often.
And now let’s jump ahead to a Saturday afternoon where we all found ourselves exploring the Washington DC Ethiopian food scene. Fun fact - Washington D.C. is home to the largest Ethiopian community in the country. So, obviously, we were expecting some pretty kick butt Ethiopian food. One veggie sampler, one meat platter and one order of extra injera later – our whole group was quite happy.
- – - So here are three things to know about Ethiopian food - – -
1) Injera is the star – All of the food is served on a huge slab on injera. You eat with injera. And every meal is all about the injera. So what’s injera? This Ethiopian bread star has the consistency of a pancake or crepe. For an authentic injera recipe, check out burakaeyae.
1.b.) But what separates real in injera from the wannabes is teff. Original teff is made from 100% teff and touts all the super healthy teff benefits as well. Three quick Teff facts: 1) It’s the smallest grain in the world. 2) It has more fiber and nutrition germ than any other grain. 3) It also goes by the name love grass, which is awesome.
1.c.) Extra injera is served at each table and used as the meal’s utensils. This injera comes rolled in a long, floppy shape that is the consistency of a condensed crepe. Let your dirty mind run a bit and just accept my warning that everyone reaching for the injera basket at the same time can get a little awk.
2) It’s all finger food – No utensils, chopsticks or sporks… the only thing separating the tasty mess in front of you from your fingers is thin injera bread. I once read that you can always tell a true Ethiopian because their fingers remain clean after a meal eating with injera… Let’s just say I definitely needed the complimentary wet wipe.
2.b.) I recommend your first Ethiopian food experience be with family or close friends… clean family and close friends.
3) Let your waiter be in charge – The most fun we had was sampling everything. Every taste was new, every texture a surprise, and every pile of food a different adventure. I highly recommend asking for both a vegetarian and meat sampler, and then sharing it all!
Wanna try some Ethiopian food in your city? Check out EthiopianRestaurant.com
Have you ever had Ethiopian food before? What dishes do you recommend??