For this region’s dish I chose
When I first played around with the idea of starting a food journey, I found it as a challenge more to myself, to cook and learn about other country’s food and their culture. I kind of kept it on the back burner for a long time for several reasons. One thing that really changed my mind and gave me the push that I needed….ok three things… my hubby, my online family at FoodTribe.com and a little cooking competition show that featured Ethiopia as a food challenge. Through my naivety I mostly thought of Ethiopia as a poverty stricken country. But I soon discovered there is so much more, such as their food and how much they love to share it with one another.
The food is so exciting and unique with the rich, spicy stews and flavorful vegetables. Their dishes are not only prepared with diversity and strong spicy flavors, but Ethiopians are very centered on preserving their traditional heritage of eating together and savoring a meal. To them, cooking and sitting down to share a meal together with family and friends shows love and appreciation. Traditionally, a meal is eaten with the hands or Injera, which is like a spongy flatbread. I think for some of us living here in the US we might have a hard time thinking about eating with our hands, but I really like the concept. You truly are experiencing your food in a whole new way.
When I was reading about all of the different types of dishes, the one that really stood out for me was Tibs….maybe because I’m a girl who does love a good meaty meal. Tibs is a popular dish of sautéed meat with onions and spices. It’s like a cross between a stir fry and a stew. It is usually prepared by some as a sign of respect to someone or as a festive dish at special events or holidays, although you now can find it in restaurants or bars in the region.
It is really quick to prepare. The beef is cut into cubes and sautéed with onions, garlic, spices and tomatoes. It all comes together in a very rich, spicy sauce. You can control how spicy you want it so don’t be hesitant to try this if you’re not a fan of spicy foods. One spice in particular that is used in this dish and many others is Berbere. It is composed of chilis, garlic, cinnamon, allspice and several other warm spices. You can look up how to make your own, or like me you can find it online. I really suggest not leaving it out if you can because it really helps give this dish its depth of flavor. This dish really surprised me how layered in flavor it was…there is heat the from the spices, then you have the nice charred meat and onions with a slight tang from the tomatoes and lemon juice. It’s so delicious. There are several variations with venison and even some meatless ones, but this is pretty much the version that appealed to me….and you know I had to put a little of me into it as well. This dish is typically served with Injera or rice. I chose to serve mine with a side of rice.
Here’s what you need to make this delightful dish:
*1 lb beef cut into bite size pieces
*1 TBS canola oil or olive oil + 1 tsp.
*1/2 TBS Berbere spice +1 tsp.
*1 tsp salt or more to taste
*cracked pepper to taste
*1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
*2 cloves of garlic minced
*2 tsp. clarified butter or regular butter
*1/2 tsp cumin
*1/4 tsp. dried ginger or 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
*1 tsp dried Rosemary or 2 tsp freshly chopped
*1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
*1/2 TBS lemon juice or more to taste
Set out the beef for about 30 minutes before cooking, dry with paper towels if needed.
Season the beef with 1/2 TBS of the Berber spice, salt and pepper.
Heat a cast iron pan to medium high heat and add 1 TBS. of canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the beef to the pan. Sear the beef for about 2 minutes on all sides.
Don’t over crowd the pan or the beef will not brown properly. If needed do this in batches.
Remove the beef from the pan; drain the left over juices except for 1 TBS and leave in the pan and add the 1 tsp. canola oil and the 2tsp. of the butter.
Once the butter is melted add in the onions and the garlic.
Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly; add in the cumin, ginger and Rosemary.
Continue cooking for about 2 more minutes or until the onions soften, stirring often.
Return the beef back to the pan and stir to combine the onion mixture with the beef.
Pour in the crushed tomatoes with the lemon juice and remaining 1 tsp. Berber.
Stir and turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove and serve.