'Ethiopian' on Serious Eats

Great Ethiopian Eats at Azla in South Los Angeles

An Ethiopian restaurant outside of Little Ethiopia's restaurant row in Los Angeles? Now, there's a thought! There aren't many of them in this town, but Azla, a new family-run operation in South LA's Mercado La Paloma food court, is making a name for itself with excellent homestyle Ethiopian eats. Full disclosure: this place is vegan. But hey, so is a lot of Ethiopian food by default, so don't trip out just yet. More

Shauna James Ahern's Ethiopian Chicken Stew

Some of my favorite memories from college were the long, friend-filled dinners at the Ethiopian restaurant up the street from campus. We'd gorge on spicy braised meats, simmered lentils, and rich stews, all the while scooping up and dipping into the buttery sauces with tangy injera bread. It was messy in the most comforting way. So, I was excited to find a recipe for Ethiopian chicken stew in Shauna James Ahern's new cookbook Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. Both the stew and the accompanying injera are naturally gluten-free, so they're an obvious inclusion in the book. More

The Vegetarian Option: Meskerem

Ethiopian food can be a tough sell for people who haven't tried it before. It consists of piles of mush, usually in variations of brown, and because you eat with your fingers, you often make a mess of yourself. On the other hand, those piles of mush are usually delicious, and at Meskerem in the West Village they make great vegetarian fare. More

Spice Hunting: Berbere, Ethiopian Chili Powder

Like niter kibbeh, berbere is used in a bunch of Ethiopian dishes, either as a primary spice or an added layer of flavor. You can think of it like Ethiopian chili powder: a chile-based blend at once earthy, sweet, and hauntingly aromatic, with notes of fragrant cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. It'd be a mistake to say that berbere is a one-stop Ethiopian cooking lesson, but it's a damn good start. One whiff and your sense memories will definitely say, "Ethiopian restaurant." More

Beef Tibs

The sauce in this dish gets its kick from berbere, an Ethiopian chili powder fragrant with cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. Use it once and you'll see why a good chunk of Ethiopian cuisine is built on it. More

Date Night: Ghenet

Eating like this sharpens the senses. Without a utensil, the food smells stronger, seems more immediate. The browns and reds look vivider. Since the waitstaff is probably watching videos on Facebook at the bar, you'll need to figure out which stew is which. If you close your eyes, you might be able to pick out cinnamon or tumeric on the tongue. Plus, eating with your hands is just plain fun. Ghenet is a sensual place, best for: a date you'd like to get messy with. More

The Nasty Bits: Dulet, the Ethiopian Dish of Beef, Liver, and Lamb Tripe

I have eaten dulet (an Ethiopian combination of beef, liver, and lamb tripe) for four straight meals in a row. This is a record, even for me. The first of those meals took place at Lalibela, a popular Ethiopian restaurant in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. They were out of beef tripe, but they had lamb tripe in the kitchen. The waitresses ask me every time I order a dish containing organs if I am sure that's what I want. Yes, I always reply without hesitation. More

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