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  • Easy, Spicy Ethiopian Stews

    Ethiopian food sounds exotic, but it's easy to fall in love with the cuisine of this eastern African nation. Whether you're a strict vegan, a traditional vegetarian or an old-fashioned omnivore, as long as your palate is prepared for intense flavors, Ethiopian cookery has a dish for you.

    The deep, red color and spicy heat found in most Ethiopian food comes from the nationally popular berbere spice blend. Usually made from dried chili peppers, garlic, fenugreek and warm spices such as cumin, ginger, black pepper, allspice and cloves, berbere spice is typically mixed with water or oil to make a paste before it is used in cooking. Wet or dry, it makes a flavorful spice rub for meats and fish.

    Berbere is also the essential seasoning in Ethiopia's famous stews, curry-like mixtures known as wot or wat that are often flaming hot — an acquired taste for some! To dial back the lip-burning, if authentic heat of the berbere, we often will substitute mild California chili powder for half or even more of the spicier blend.

    Making Ethiopian stew at home is easy and while the traditional accompaniment, a fermented bread known as injera that is made from a tiny, nutritious grain called teff, is a bit of a stretch for most home cooks, you can serve your wot with any mild carb such as rice, barley or toasted bread.

    Our basic Ethiopian Berbere Sauce recipe uses no animal products. You can keep it vegan with lentils or split peas and vegetables, or serve it with cooked lamb, beef or chicken. Get the recipe »»


    Ethiopian Red Lentils with Berbere Get the recipe »»

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  • The joy of Persian cooking

    "Let's eat Persian tonight" is not a phrase we often hear in Napa, where enjoying the authentic cuisine of Persia in a restaurant requires an out-of-county drive. But with a few key ingredients, a little time in the kitchen and an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you can easily recreate the signature stew called ghormeh sabzi. Also known as Persian Green Stew, ghormeh sabzi is a celebration of fragrance, color, texture and flavor that has been enjoyed since the days of the Persian empires, more than a thousand years ago. Today, the stew is still popular in Iraq, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Iran, where it is considered a national dish. Continue reading

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