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Ethiopian experience 🇪🇹
My first encounter with food and music from Ethiopia | MC #51
This time, I would like to pass on my newest excitement about Ethiopian food and music to you.
A while ago, together with, we spend a wonderful evening with our friends at Queen Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant in Warsaw. From the very first moment, we were certain that this place has an authentic spirit, and that we will be taken good care of. And we were right. The friendly hosts of Queen Sheba made us feel welcome and relaxed throughout the whole evening.
Trying Ethiopian food
For the starter, we ordered these wonderfully crispy and flavor-rich triangles called sambusa. They looked and smelled just perfect, so we instantaneously devoured them. These delish, deep-fried pockets of filo-like dough were filled with tasty lentils, onions, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro.
For the main course, we shared Ethiopian Vegan Combo Platters. It allowed us to try a bit of everything. Our meal was served on a metal platter placed inside a colorful hand-woven basket. The bottom of the platter was blanketed with injera - a giant pancake-like fermented flatbread (about 20cm in diameter). It had one of the most interesting food textures that I ever experienced - crazy spongy, with a sticky, porous side that made it really easy to pick up the other things on the plate. What also surprised me was that it was served entirely cold. Injera wasn’t entirely flavorless, and you could feel a bit sour-ish taste. The interesting fact here: injera is made with the smallest grain in the world, called tef.
Before we started a meal we were instructed on how to eat traditional Ethiopian food:
Tear off a piece of injera.
Hold the smooth side against your hand and the spongy side against the food.
Pick up some food using the injera and put it in your mouth.
Each injera was covered with appetizing clumps of saucy curries and rich stews made with split lentils (like the Miser Wot dish), chickpeas (like the Shiro dish), yellow split peas (like the Kik Alicha dish). They contained a famous mix of spices called berbere and were full of intense flavors like chili powder, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, nutmeg, coriander, and cumin. There were also some beets, carrots, and spinach - all with very rich taste. Everything was spicy and pleasantly fiery on the tongue 🔥👅
I really enjoyed eating using my hands - it was refreshing and stimulating. The whole meal was like a full sensory experience. Definitely, it’s a type of feast I won’t ever forget. It felt good to me, but I’m aware that not anyone would like that. Our friends at the table told us that they’d wish there was at least an option to use some cutlery at some point during the meal.
There was, of course, a whole section for meat lovers there, with a great variety of beef or chicken stews. We haven’t tried any of it, but I’m almost 100% sure that any carnivore would leave that restaurant completely satisfied.
The portions were huge, and it was really challenging to finish it all. When the owner of the place saw that we left a bit of food to take out home for later, he joked he won’t let us out of his restaurant unless we pay double or wash the dishes 😅 The general rule of his restaurant was: the meal is done when everything from the platter is gone.
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What was also an essential factor in building up the atmosphere in the restaurant was a well-selected playlist. It was mostly Ethio-Jazz (Ethiopian Jazz) with transcendent grooves and nostalgic sounds from the Éthiopiques series released in the 90s and early 00s. I really enjoyed that unique fusion of traditional music with jazz, funk, and soul.
Have a great time listening! Also, let me know what you think, and if you have ever been to an Ethiopian place.
Wishing you a wonderful day!