This week we are heading to the Ethiopian plains for a luxurious lunch of sautéed beef ‘local style,’ spiced yam salsa, and a sumptuous glass of honey wine, for a truly exotic taste of Africa.
Awaze Sigga Tibs
Awaze Sigga Tibs, or ‘Ethiopian style sautéed beef,’ is a firm favourite among Ethiopians, and requires a pound of beefsteak. The steak should be chopped into cubes and added to a searing skillet of garlic, onion, and green and red peppers. As the vegetables begin to soften, the secret ingredient, berbere spice, is added to infuse with optimum effect. Berbere is a typical Ethiopian spice mix which combines an enormous amount of ground spices including cumin, cardamom, fenugreek, coriander, black pepper, ground red chilli peppers, gingerroot, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, and salt!
The next step is to add the beef cubes with a knob of butter, once the vegetables have softened. Add another tablespoon of the special berbere spice mix and cook on a medium heat until the meat is to your liking and the flavours have infused.
Spiced Yam Salsa
Another spice-filled dish, Ethiopian style spiced yam (or sweet potato) salsa, is the perfect accompaniment to Awaze Sigga Tibs, or as a deliciously thick dipping sauce with crusty bread.
To create this dish combine onion, garlic, ginger and yams in a medium pan with olive oil and fry until the onions become clear. Add a red pepper at the end and sauté for one minute.
Throw split red lentils, two teaspoons of tomato paste and a cup of water into the mix and bring to the boil. Next, sprinkle a good-sized helping of paprika, coriander, fenugreek, and ginger spices over the vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
The only thing left to do before enjoying this very special dish is to season with salt, black pepper or soy sauce, according to taste.
There is no finer way to wash down this hearty meal, than with a chilled glass of Tej, which, translated from the Amharic language, simply means ‘Ethiopian Honey Wine.’ This deliciously decadent glass combines fermented honey and a particular type of hops called gesho, for that sweet yet fresh taste.
This truly is royalty among wines, as Ethiopians believe Tej was used to toast none other than the Queen of Sheba herself!