Update June 2010: I wrote this post before I started on a gluten-free near-vegan diet. Since then I have discovered that injera at most Ethiopian restaurants in the U.S. is made with wheat and teff, rather than just the traditional teff, so if you eat gluten-free, please be aware of this.
I discovered Ethiopian food when I first lived in Washington, DC in the late 1990s. I love how it is a communal dining experience. Dinner generally consists of a large platter with delectable dishes distributed on a flatbread called injera:
Above is a very typical assortment of what husband and I usually order when we get Ethiopian food – an array of vegetable dishes and some lamb. The flavors are both unique and reminiscent of Indian food, because spices like cumin and turmeric are used in both Ethiopian and Indian cooking. Clockwise from top: yellow split peas, lentils in a spicy red berber sauce, potatoes and carrots, collard greens, a dish made of pureed peppers and peas, cabbage and carrots, more pureed peppers and peas. In the center is a delicious dry-roasted/fried lamb called tibs. Your main ustensil is more injera:
Ethiopian restaurants in Washington, DC are Etete just off U Street and Meskerem in Adams Morgan. For a more upscale experience, there’s also Zed’s in Georgetown.
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