21 December 2010

Ethiopia: Beta Israel Jewish food traditions

Baby, it's cold outside!

Why not try the Beta Israel shabbat dish of Doro Wat? It's sure to warm you up.

An interesting food column at the Jerusalem Post by Chef Dennis Wasko focused on this cuisine.

Wasko includes the history of the Ethiopian Jewish community and two recipes, one for Doro Wat and one for the special spice blend called berbere, an integral part of the finished dish.

If you like your food hot, you'll love this dish.

The Beta Israel can trace their origins back to antiquity. Their oldest oral traditions claim that their ancestors migrated from Israel to Egypt after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. After a few hundred years, the community migrated further south after Egypt was conquered by the Roman Empire. They eventually came to the land known as Ethiopia.
The spicy chicken stew contains chilies and exotic spices, is garnished with hard-cooked eggs and simmers from 12-18 hours.

Doro Wat (Ethiopian Chicken Stew)
Serves 5

1 whole chicken cut into 10 pieces ( 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts cut in half crosswise)
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup water
¼ cup olive oil
3 yellow onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 TBS fresh ginger, grate
½ cup tomato paste
1 tsp to 1 TBS berbere spice blend to taste (see below)
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground fenugreek
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cardamom
5 whole large eggs
1 cup chicken stock or water
salt to taste

Combine lemon juice, salt and water; mix. Soak chicken in it for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove chicken, pat dry, discard solution. In heavy-bottomed stew pot or dutch oven over medium high heat, add olive oil, onions, garlic and fresh ginger. Sauté about 10 minutes, add all other ingredients except chicken and eggs. Bring to boil, reduce heat, add chicken and eggs. Coat chicken well in sauce. Cover pot, place into a low-temperature oven. Cook at least 12 hours, up to 18 hours. Serve chicken in sauce, garnished with eggs.

Berbere Spice Blend

2 TBS paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Combine together, keep in a sealed jar.

After this dish, a little blizzard won't matter!

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