Story

In those parts of Ethiopia where enjera is a staple food, it is seldom eaten separately. Occasionally it may be eaten as a snack with coffee in the morning, if nothing else is available. Very poor people may eat enjera with berberre for a meal. But most often enjera and sauce are eaten together. When one asks about the menu for a meal, the answer is often simply enjera, because it is understood that sauce will accompany the enjera. It may be a geyy wot (most often called wot) or allicha wot (most often called allicha). The main ingredients for these sauces are legumes, meat, fish, chicken, vegetables or tubers. Onion, fat (oil or butter), salt and spices are also added. The spice mixture berberre (see below) is used in the geyy wot and green pepper and tumeric in the allicha wot. The recipes and the preparation of the wot and allicha differ from place to place and between the different ethnic groups. Tradition, religion, economic and social situations play important roles. The Ethiopians prefer to eat the wot or allicha with large quantities of fat (oil during the fasting days for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians). A wot for a feast should have a top layer of fat. Wealthy people also prepare the wot or allicha with large amounts of protein-rich food, meat, chicken or legumes. A wot or allicha for poor people will be more watery with less fat (mainly oil) or no fat and smaller quantities of the protein-rich food. These families will also mainly serve dishes prepared with legumes, vegetables or tubers, as they cannot afford to buy meat or chicken. Because of the poor transportation system, the consumption of fish is low. Therefore the nutritive values of the dishes show great variations as between different groups in the Ethiopian community (2). The traditional food is served in a mesop, which is a kind of basket made of straw. The enjeras are placed on top of each other in the mesop, most often one per adult person. The sauce is placed in the centre of the enjera. During feasts several wot and allicha are served for the meal, for example, one type of wot with meat or chicken, one wot or allicha with legumes and one with vegetables. Sour-milk cheese (ayib) is sometimes served with the enjera. The guests and adult men eat first and after that the women and children. The thick part of the sauce is the best and most tasty and will therefore be taken first. The thin part of the wot has been soaked up by the enjera and this may be the only food for women and children. It is also said that:” A child should be hungry”. Small pieces of enjera are eaten at a time and with the help of these also the wot is consumed. When the guest has finished eating it is polite to put more pieces of enjera and wot (gorsha) into his mouth. Before eating, the hands are washed with water and in wealthy families soap is used. Most often the children carry the water around. The water is poured over the hands of each person and caught in a special bowl; it would be unclean to wash the hands in water that another person has used. The washing procedure is repeated after the meal. The wot can be eaten either freshly prepared or served cool. This is especially the case in some areas where they eat the food left over from the previous day in the morning before starting the daily work. The Ethiopian culture and tradition is built up around this traditional food pattern, enjera and wot, and there are many proverbs about it (5). One says that “Hand and fly-whisk, mouth and enjera go together” and another “The enjera I have, my lass, the wot I wait you to pass”. Preparation of wot and allicha. The chopped onion and garlic are toasted at low heat until golden brown. Butter or oil is added and the onion is fried for about 5 minutes. The berberre, other spices, salt and a small amount of water are added and the mixture is cooked for about 15-20 minutes. The spice mixture berberre has the nicest taste after being cooked in a mixture containing fat. When chicken, meat, vegetables or potatoes are used, the raw pieces are added to the spicy sauce, together with water, and after that it is boiled until ready. Legumes are most often boiled in water and afterwards added to the spicy sauce. Pea flour (shiro) when used, is mixed with boiling water and added to the spice mixture. The allicha is prepared in the same way as geyy wot and the spices and salt are added to the onion and fat mixture. The green pepper is chopped after the seeds have been taken away and added to the spicy sauce. In the villages in the central Ethiopian highlands green pepper is not available during the entire year and the allicha is made without this spice. Fairly often the wot or allicha are over-cooked and part of the ascorbic acid and the thiamine is destroyed. The wot for a real feast contains an ample supply of chicken and eggs (dorowot). Poor people save money so they can afford to buy chicken for breaking their fast after the long fasting period (fazika zom) during Lent. Many traditional rules are followed in the preparation of dorowot for this feast. The chicken must be cleaned very thoroughly and it is said to be a great shame to the housewife if a small barb is found in the wot. It is also said that, by tasting the wot, one can tell if the chicken has been cleaned satisfactorily. The chicken should always be cut into 12 pieces. Tejj (honey wine) sometimes replaces water in this wot. Eggs are hard-boiled and peeled, and small cuts are made in them and they are put into the sauce before serving, in order to acquire the spicy taste.







Share this Recipe




Made with to injera