The Edible Journey: Ethiopia

They definitely saved the best for last.

Our final stop on the Catholic Relief Services rice-bowl journey was to Ethiopia where we were to sample “Injera with Atkilt Wat,” or cabbage and crepes. I wasn’t hopeful. Cabbage and crepes? And on top of that–potatoes? It seemed carb heavy, and there was no protein. I was beginning to feel very sorry for the people of Ethiopia.

I shouldn’t have. This was the tastiest meal yet during this Lenten food foray. Nothing fancy, ordinary ingredients, which is to be expected of people who don’t have a lot of resources. However, I think that when you look at the waistlines of vast numbers of Americans, it’s apparent we could do with a little less “fancy.”

We visited the CRS rice bowl site and learned about one Ethiopaof those Ethiopian families: Dita, her husband and seven children who earned money from a small farm. They often have droughts in that area, though, so that meant no crops to sell and and no money for food. It must be heartbreaking to look in your children’s eyes and see hunger.

CRS has a program that worked with Dita and others like her to prepare them for droughts. Dita also learned how to open a small store, selling things like pasta, shampoo and bananas, and now says, proudly, that her children eat three times a day–something we Americans take for granted.

The site will tell you more about Dita and what CRS is doing in Ethiopia, but in the meantime, try this recipe. I think you’ll love it. We’ve already decided to make it a regular on our menu.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups club soda
1/2 cup olive oil
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

Mix all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt together. Stir in club soda until batter is smooth. Preheat and wipe skillet with small amount of oil. Ladle half a cup of batter onto skillet; spread to make large crepe Cook until all bubbles on top burst–about 2 minutes. Flip crepe and cook another minute. Wipe skillet with oiled paper after each crepe.

In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook carrots and onion, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric and cabbage; cook 10 minutes. Add potatoes. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; cook until potatoes are soft.

I did wonder where Ethiopians get club soda and decided they must use some other native source of leavening that we don’t readily have here. It was fun adding it to the flour and watching it fizz.

I also noticed the lack of protein, and since I need protein at each meal for health reasons, I scrambled some eggs with a little garlic, salt and pepper, and after spooning the vegetable mix on top of a crepe, I added some eggs to that. George and I decided we could easily add a little shredded chicken, too–but since this was a Lenten meal, we did without that.

I tried spooning the mixture down the center of my crepe and then folding it up to eat with my hands (see the photo) but that didn’t work too well, so I ended up just leaving it flat and eating it with a fork.

We both had seconds, and the little that was left I had for supper. That’s how much we liked this dish. If any of you try it, please let me know here. I’d love to hear how you enjoyed it, and what tweaking you may have done. Personally, I don’t think it needs any tweaking.

That’s the end of the rice bowl recipes for this year. It’s Holy Week and Easter awaits. Thank you, CRS, for helping us make this Lenten journey in solidarity with the world’s poor.

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About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog. I actually have two blogs here: one about ordinary things at monicaspen.wordpress.com; and one about Catholic and Benedictine things at heartsponderings.wordpress.com.
This entry was posted in Catholic life, cooking, CRS Rice Bowl, Food, Lent, Lenten food, Lenten meals, recipes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Edible Journey: Ethiopia

  1. blb1 says:

    Have a Blessed Easter you two.

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