The food presented in this blog is native to people who live in the highlands of Eritrea and Ethiopia. A large part of the cuisine is served on flat, spongy bread called injera or taita, which is why the food is sometimes called “injera” in the West.
There are slight regional variations among Eritrean and Ethiopian food. This blog presents food as it is generally prepared in Eritrean households and by their Tigrinya names. However, a few traditionally Ethiopian dishes might be presented as well.
Below is a list of basic food items and ingredients common to the cuisine. Most items can be sourced in Eritrean and Ethiopian stores/markets here in the US or online. If you have any questions, contact me and I’ll do my best to help.
Awaze – Spicy red paste made with berbere. Used as a cooking ingredient and dipping sauce.
Berbere - Red and spicy, this is the mother of all spices. It itself is a combination of tons of stuff – including ginger, chile peppers, cloves, and coriander. Your dish will only taste as good as your berbere does. As such, people in the old country make it themselves, and people in the West get it there from family and trusted sources. If you don’t have a connect in the old country never fear - you can definitely get decent berbere in stores.
Injera or Taita - This is the spongy bread that most food is served on and eaten with. I live in DC, and due to the abundance of Eritrean and Ethiopian markets, I buy it. I don’t know how to make it (umm yet?) and hope that I will always live in city where I can buy it!
Tesmi - Clarified butter spiced with ginger, onions, garlic, and fenugreek. It’s actually quite easy to make, but same deal as the berbere – you can buy it if you don’t have the hook up.
Turmeric – Available in conventional stores