Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ethiopian Cooking

I have a lovely, rustic ‘Exotic Ethiopian Cooking’ book*, that my brother bought for me in Ethiopia. It has loads of information about food culture in Ethiopia, as well as hundreds of inspiring and interesting recipes, including some for fermented drinks.

A lot of the recipes require ingredients I can’t get in France, so the first recipe I’ve tried requires callaloo (collard greens in American), which I have growing in the garden, along with other very simple ingredients. The results were outstanding.

The recipe is for ‘Collard Green Mixed In Spiced Cottage Cheese’. Sounds very simple, but you need to make your own cottage cheese, because shop-bought stuff won’t work at all.

So, starting a few days in advance, I bought raw milk and let it go sour for a couple of days on a warm windowsill. Then, you shake the milk in a jar, until it turns into [exceptionally wonderful] butter. Put the butter in the fridge, and then heat the buttermilk really gently, until the curds separate. Once cool, refrigerate, and you now have homemade cottage cheese! It is amazing. It tastes like mozzarella, and, when heated, behaves like it, too.

Homemade cottage cheese

For the dish:

• Chop callaloo (you can also use spinach) and boil for a few minutes
• Mix black pepper and butter with the cottage cheese
• Stir in the hot callaloo.
• Serve with injera or other thin flatbread, or as a side dish

You can also mix in spices, like chili, caraway, cumin, cardamom, coriander seed etc and I felt it needed some salt, too.

This is a really special dish. I can’t wait to try some more Ethiopian recipes, and Ethiopia is very high up on my list of adventure destinations…

*Book by D J Mesfin, published by Ethiopian Cookbook Enterprises.

No comments: