Long time reader, first time (fan)poster here. With all the free time post-NBA finals, I've had some time to reflect on the Wolves offseason moves to this point. I decided to put my thoughts together coherently below. I hope you enjoy.
Ok, so today, we'll be making an ethiopian dish called ye'miser w'et. W'et (or wat or wot) generally refers to any ethiopian stew made from onions and lentils, beans, veggies, or probably even meat. As a vegan, I don't know about any of the meat dishes - but don't fret! many ethiopian foods are vegan already, as orthodox christians in the region do not consume animal products on wednesdays or fridays. consequently, ethiopian food offers far more interesting (and healthy and easy) vegan food, as well as a ton of legume protein. anyway, I am no expert on ethiopian food; all I learned comes from the internet, practice, and this amazing cookbook zine entitled "papa tofu loves ethiopian food." according to the internet it is sold out, but you can find some of the recipes on kittee berns' website. this recipe is pretty closely adapted to hers, a variation of which appears on her website as well.
Before you start, you'll need three uncommon ingredients: berbere, an ethiopian spice mix; injera, a flatbread made from teff flour; and niter kibbeh, a spiced oil or butter (or in my case, margarine) mixture. Berbere and injera can be found at almost any corner store in minneapolis. I highly suggest visiting a bunch of them and finding your favorite berbere - mine is currently from this place across the street from zipps on franklin. Berbere generally comes in a dry form, but apparently it can also be purchased as a paste. of course, you can now find these things at co-ops, and maybe even regular grocery stores, but i encourage you to step outside your comfort zone. Minneapolis has a large population of East Africans and businesses run by them.
Niter kibbeh is a bit harder - you can probably buy it in butter form (again, I wouldn't know). Or you can make your own. I don't have pictures or anything so I'm not going to include my recipe. Just search on google, or at your local store. However, I must stress that niter kibbeh is essential for ethiopian food. it's in everything. and also, it can make literally anything delicious. once you try it, you'll start putting it on toast, eggs, pancakes, or whatever else you use butter for.
Ok, so lets get started. for this recipe, you'll need the following ingredients:
- 1.5 cups red lentils
- 3 tablespoons niter kibbeh
- 1 red onion, minced
- 3-6 garlic cloves minced, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (not smoked paprika. if you don't know the difference, find out! they're vastly different flavors, and each great in their own right)
- 1.5 tablespoons berbere
- 1.5 cups water or stock of your choice
- spicy stuff, like fresh peppers and/or cayenne
(fyi, in the photos, I've doubled the recipe above because it's really easy and supplies me with lunches for a week)
First, rinse your lentils and bring them to a boil. generally, I use about a 3:1 water to lentils ratio for this recipe - you want them to be thick, not soupy...and waiting for water to boil off can be tedious. you can always add more as needed. they'll take like 20 minutes to cook or so.
In a separate pot, heat up the niter kibbeh. I like to use a cast iron dutch oven, but if you don't have one of those lying around, any pot should do fine. I've actually read different things about this process - some recipes tell you to heat the niter kibbeh and then add the onions, while in others, you dry cook the onions and then add the niter kibbeh. the important thing, however, is the niter kibbeh. as the wikipedia page for w'et notes, "Fat (usually niter kibbeh) is added often in quantities that might seem excessive by modern Western standards." Yes, please.
Anyway, add the onions and garlic, along with some salt, and stir. In this recipe, I've also added two hot peppers, as a spicy flavor profile should include, imo, both fresh and dried ingredients. Cook until the onions are beginning to caramelize.
At this point, you have a couple options. You may want to make a vegetable side with niter kibbeh - baked potatoes, greens, okra, mushrooms, and carrots are all traditional afaik, but niter kibbeh plus any vegetable combo is delicious. in this case, I've opted to fry up some carrots and kale. Alternatively (or additionally) you may want to pour yourself a cold one and check up on the kids, or ch, or whatever it is you do.
Ok, so now that you've done that and some time has passed, it's time to return to your onions. Here is my favorite part of making w'et - the spices. Add all of them on top of the onion mixture and then stir. they'll absorb any of the remaining fat and your kitchen will begin to smell amazing. Cook for just a couple of minutes and stir frequently to prevent burning.
Then, add your lentil mixture and stir. If it is too thick, add your stock of choice to loosen it up, but be cautious.
Let simmer for a half hour or until the aroma becomes too overpowering and tempting to resist. You should taste and add more spices as needed, especially cayenne and salt.
Then, let cool for a bit and serve on top of injera!
Thanks for reading my review of the Timberwolves coaching search and offseason moves to this point! I hope to continue contributing to the blog after the draft, after free agency, after the trade deadline, and so on!