Seasoning Plain Yogurt The Ethiopian Way


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“Variety’s the very spice of life”… The reason why I start with this insightful quote by William Cowper, is because I want to give you sneak preview about the top two spices that one can definitely find in every Ethiopian’s Kitchen cabinets- which are the venerated Berebere and Mitimita and to show you how these Ethiopians very own spices gives plain yogurt the delicious and exotic test of Ethiopia.

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Berebere is the main spice behind the regular traditional stews of Ethiopia, whether it’s the renowned Doro wat (chicken stew) or the vegetarian exult of Kike wat (red lentil based stew).

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Berebere is a sizzling blend of red chili, cardamom seed, ginger, salt, coriander, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, black paper, and garlic. Berebere is used for cooking and define many Ethiopian cuisines.

Mitimita is the hottest spice blend. It is a powdered blend of bird’s eye red pepper, cloves, cardamom seed, and salt. Ethiopians use Mitmita mostly to lace with Addis’s most acclaimed Tibes (roasted beef or lamb).

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Unlike Berebere, Mitmita served at the table to sprinkle on bread, potatoes, and yogurt.

Addis Ababa derives this seasoning plain yogurt practice from the rural parts of Ethiopia where you can find homemade plain yogurt and the very best homemade spices almost in every household.  Hosting guests with this healthy food is one of the very much acclaimed traditions of Ethiopian hospitality.

Many Addis Ababa restaurants serve plain yogurt with Mitmita or you can just get plain yogurt, Berbere or Mitmita from one of the supermarkets of Addis Ababa and prepare this at home.

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Sprinkle one of the two spices (depends on your choice) and little by little on the top of the plain yogurt and mix it well, test it once in while to make sure you get the kind of test you want or until you feel the spices.

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I prefer seasoning my plain yogurt with Mitmita because it’s very hot and this is the only way I can have it as much and it is with Mitmita that many Addis Ababa Restaurant serve plain yogurt with. Some people love to have it with Berbere and eat it with Injera as one of the stews of Ethiopia which is of course very filling and scrumptious too.  Having seasoned plain yogurt with Injera is optional so having it as it is (the Addis Ababa way) also so satisfying.

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I suggest to add up these Ethiopian aromatic, exotic and delicious spices into your kitchen cabinets besides, creatively compiling spice cabinets is an enchanting way to discover the world without leaving home and it is the remedy of wanderlust right?

About Sara Genene

I am a traveler... on an endless journey of self-discovery!
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4 Responses to Seasoning Plain Yogurt The Ethiopian Way

  1. Interesting stuff! Having never tried Ethiopian cuisine, I’m finding it hard to imagine what these dishes taste like – so maybe you could share a recipe??!!! 🙂

    • Sara P.G. says:

      Definitely! and thank you so much for liking my blog and really appreciate your comments, which is an inspiration for me. And I dedicate my next blog just for you (coffee Lovers)!!!

  2. Is mitimita and these spices something that you cultivate in Addis? Thank you 🙂

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