ethiopian wat: cold snowflakes combined with hot african food.

It has been too long since I had a culinary gathering. So, we rallied the Powell River troops on Friday to come over and transport their mouths to Ethiopia.
I was planning on making injira (the traditional Ethiopian sourdough flatbread) to go with the wat, as it is usually served in that manner. However, I would have had to provide several more hours of crafts in order to have contented Powell River-ians in my apartment – so that idea was scrapped. 

As I stirred and poured, I kept them distracted from the delicious and stomach-growl-inducing smells through crafts. The season is now upon us, and decorations are in order for my apartment. I wished to create a winter wonderland in my apartment, without the blistering cold. I laid out paper, scissors, and challenged everyone to create the most beautiful snowflakes.
Gord’s was the prettiest by far.
Brendan’s was the most accomplished through his use of a knife to cut the paper rather than a double bladed instrument.

We then Hoover-ed the meal, with our mouths acting as vacuums.
All in all, a good night with an odd mix of creating snowflakes and eating Ethiopian. Lovely.
Ethiopian Wat

Berbere Paste
2 tsp. Whole cumin 
2 tsp. Red pepper flakes 
1 tsp. Cardamom seeds 
1 tsp. Fenugreek seeds 
8 Whole peppercorns 
6 Allspice berries 
4 Whole cloves 
4 New Mexico dried chilies 
1 Onion, chopped 
3 cloves Garlic, crushed 
1 tbs. Paprika 
1 tbs. Salt 
1 tsp. Ginger, ground 
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 c. Oil 
1/4 c. Water or red wine 


2 lbs. Chicken legs and thighs, skinless 
1 Lemon, juiced
2 tsp. Salt 
2 Onions, chopped 
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 tbs. Gingerroot, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup oil
2 tbs. Paprika 
1/2 c. Berberé paste 
3/4 c. Water or stock 
1/2 c. Red wine 
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper 
Salt and pepper

1. Combine all the paste ingredients together in a blender, and make a paste. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium flame. Add the whole spices and toast, stirring for about 2-3 minutes until they give off their aroma. Do not burn. Remove from heat.

2. Over an open flame, lightly toast the New Mexico chilies, turning quickly from side to side until they soften and become flexible. Do not burn. Remove the stems and seeds and roughly chop.

3. Put the spices and dried peppers into a spice or coffee grinder and grind to a powder.

4. Put the ground toasted spices into a food processor or blender along with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

5. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze portions for later use.

6. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Combine the cold with the hot.