Wot, you say?

I had my first Ethiopian food when I was 16. I was a bit skeptical, as the thought of wet stuff sitting on bread just ooged me out. My folks are rice people. Gravy and its associated wetness goes on rice, not on bread. I don’t even like my biscuits wet with gravy! Horrors.

Ethiopian food desertThankfully, my palate’s a bit more sophisticated these days, and I’m always willing to throw down on some stew-soaked injera these days. But unfortunately, I live the Ethiopian food wasteland known as the central San Francisco Bay Peninsula. You see that big, empty space on the land noodle between the two clusters of Yelp pins? That’s my wasteland. Boatloads of wot-free sadness.

To the Internet I went in search of ways to get my Ethiopian food fix a little closer to home. I found a couple places online where I could have injera delivered for about what it would cost in gas, bridge toll, and headache to get it locally. I also picked up a most excellent cookzine, Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food, written by Kittee Berns, and it is vegan, gluten-free, and an absolute steal at $9. You need this, especially if you like ginger, garlic, and extremely delicious things.

My injera arrived this past Saturday via FedEx, as fresh as any I’ve ever had. I decided to whip up a few of these dishes for a big Sunday feast. I made the ye’takelt allecha (mixed vegetables baked with ginger and garlic), ye’kik allecha (yellow split pea stew with ginger and garlic), and a vegan version of the ubiquitous doro wot (spicy red stew) using Butler Soy Curls. I also whipped up a batch of niter kibbeh (seasoned Earth Balance and canola oil) and a simple selata with tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and a light wine vinaigrette.

Here is the ye’takelt allecha before it was baked. It looks delicious, even raw!

ye'takelt allecha, rawAnd afterwards, cooked and plated along with the other dishes:

Ethiopian dinnerClockwise from top left: Soy curl “doro” wot, selata, ye’takelt allecha, ye’kik allecha. All served on a delightfully spongy and tasty injera.

You can believe we ate this again for dinner tonight. Scrumptious. But I still don’t like gravy anywhere near my biscuits.

2 thoughts on “Wot, you say?

  1. Nice! Just got my copy of Papa Tofu loves Ethiopian food, haven’t made anything yet.

    Have you been to any of the Ethiopian places in Oakland? My favorites are:

    Cafe Romanat — somehow the world hasn’t discovered this place yet, so it’s not as crowded as other good Ethiopian places. Everything included in the veggie combo is vegan, so is the shiro; that’s everything I care about, so I haven’t asked about anything else. I’ve had them cater two parties. They drove it over to SF and everything.

    Ensarro — Also very good, although better known and more crowded. Similarly, the veg combo is all vegan. The shiro is not vegan (butter).

    Haven’t found anything near that quality in San Francisco.

    Incidentally, when I went vegan (recently), these were the first phone calls I made. I had to know if I could still have my favorite Ethiopian food. 🙂 My east bay run now involves Ethiopian food, getting frozen “chicken” from Layonna’s, and Cinnaholic.

    • Can you believe I haven’t been over to the East Bay to have Ethiopian food? I’ve become such a Peninsula resident that it feels so far away when it’s closer to me than San Jose. I need to rectify this soon!

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