Cook like an Ethiopian

On our first afternoon in the Golden State, when my brother-in-law suggested an Ethiopian lunch (after we whined about not wanting another Middle Eastern meal, a regular fast-dining treat here at Chez Nake-id), I began lobbying hard for the cuisine. Since the arrival of Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food, I've been craving the damp, crepe-like injera bread, which sops up the saucy lentils, salads and greens like a sponge.

Richard did not disappoint. We landed at Cafe Colucci on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, where two doors down sat the cafe's sister business, Brundo Spices and Herbs, which instantly had me vibrating. We had the eggplant tibs, gomen and a spicy pureed flax seed dish, while my in-laws enjoyed savory piles of lamb and chicken. The meal came with a bottomless basket of injera and friendly service.

As soon as we finished, I bolted for Brundo where we were guided to some starter spices, especially the characteristic berbere (chili) and two blends, alicha kimem and mekelesha, a finishing spice.

Monday I put the pressure cooker into action, obliterating two cups of yellow split peas and following Kittee Berns' recipe for yekik allecha. It was easy, subtle and completely addictive. More to come.

N.B. Brundo's spices are organic and can be ordered online.



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