I’m always intrigued and inspired by new and different cuisines and Ethiopian cuisine is certainly new and different for me. I don’t have a lot of experience or knowledge of the cuisine but with Teff Love I quickly realized that the food has an abundance of flavor and is invitingly colorful. Author Kittee Berns’ Instagram is full of beautiful and mouth watering images of Ethiopian foods and I loved photographing the platter I made.
Teff Love is a combination of Ethiopian dishes and recipes with Ethiopian inspired flavors. You’ll fall in love with the robust spices that form the foundation of many dishes. There’s a good selection of gluten-free and soy-free recipes, and a number of recipes also include helpful tips and suggested variations.
Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking by Kittee Berns is 192 pages and is available in Kindle and Paperback and was released on January 15, 2015.
This post is part of the Teff Love Blog Tour. For more information on the book and more recipes from Teff Love be sure to check out the rest of the tour. Bloggers on the tour will be posting their thoughts and experiences between February and April! Proceed to Somer of Vedged Out for her upcoming review on March 4th or check out the earlier review (Feb 24) at Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen.
I really enjoyed this cookbook, especially since there were a lot of new experiences for me. I had never prepared Ethiopian food before, so taking the time to learn about the ingredients and the cuisine and finding the local Ethiopian shops were all enlightening. I had never attempted to prepare nearly a dozen recipes from a single cookbook over the course of a day or two, but I found the preparation surprisingly simple for most of the recipes. I think Teff Love managed to get me cooking things I enjoy eating but don’t often cook at home, like lentils.
The introduction provides detailed background information and the recipes are well written and easy to follow. Overall, we really enjoyed the recipes we tried and look forward to exploring the cookbook further. This isn’t the most visual cookbook though, with just a limited number of color photos included. Fortunately the photos are usually platters and include a variety of dishes in each photo.
One of the things you’re bound to love are the injera. At the base of every good Ethiopian platter there’s injera, serving as the plate in a way for a variety of dishes, and naturally Kittee has an injera recipe in Teff Love. This soft, spongy, fermented sourdough crepe is made with teff flour (hence the little of the book). It easily folds and tears and soaks up the flavors of whatever you serve on it. Along with Kittee’s recipe for injera, you can usually find injera in a variety of sizes at Ethiopian markets. Leftover injera can be stored in the freezer and reheated or thawed when needed. Since the injera has a distinctly sour flavor, it pairs well with both mild and spicy dishes.
Here are the recipes we’ve tried from Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking:
Ye’Wot Qimem (Black-Pepper Spice Blend)
Used this to season kay wot stews. Uniquely warm, sweet and inviting spice blend that forms the flavorful core of a few recipes from Teff Love. Heaps of dry spices used including cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, nigella seeds and cumin.
Ye’Qimem Zeyet (Seasoned Oil)
An infused oil packed with all the amazing spices and flavors of Ethiopian cuisine. Serves as the foundation of a number of dishes and can be used to introduce Ethiopian flavors to any of your non-Ethiopian recipes. The rich, complex and spiced flavors are matched with an equally strong and satisfying aroma.
There is an option to omit certain ingredients but I recommend using all of the ingredients listed for the seasoned oil whenever possible.
I followed Kittee’s advice about using a combination of 75% neutral oil and 25% solid fat (refined coconut oil) and I was pleased with the result. Once prepared, the oil will last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer.
Ayib (Soft, uncultured vegan cheese)
This incredibly easy to make soft cheese has a tart and slightly sour lemony flavor. Minimal ingredients and effort to produce, I love that this recipe doesn’t have any fillers so the cheese has a really clean flavor. Ayib pairs well with the spicier recipes and provides a nice balance. My leftover Ayib also worked exceptionally well as a filling for puff pastry parcels.
Dat’a (Spicy Green-Pepper Relish)
A versatile favorite in our house. This sauce has a superb combination of tangy and spicy flavors, making it an ideal condiment or dip. It’s reminiscent of Southern Indian sauces or even a Peruvian salsa.
Ye’siquar Denich Atakilt (Sweet Potato Salad)
Simpler salads like this taste delicious on their own. It’s refreshing to use so few ingredients, this recipe has a nice balance of acid and spice and has plenty of flavor with just sweet potato, jalapeño, lime juice and olive oil. Next time I would like to work with the orange sweet potatoes for a bit more color on the plate but my local organic market only had white sweet potatoes.
Ye’Ater Kik Alicha (Split Peas in a Mild Sauce)
This popular stew reminded us of split pea soup. It’s not very spicy, but it is mild, savory and creamy with just a slight basil aftertaste. I recommend eating it warm with fresh injera.
Ye’Misser Wot (Red Lentils in a Spicy Sauce)
A favorite of ours, this spicy red lentil sauce is hearty and comforting. The seasoned oil (Ye’Qimem Zeyet), berbere powder and black-pepper spice blend (Ye’Wot Qimem) are the foundations of this dish. I like to serve it hot with fresh injera and it pairs exceptionally well with a variety of the milder/non-spicy dishes.
Favorite Ethiopian-style fusion dish. Probably the best flavored mac n’ cheese I’ve ever had! Incredibly creamy and full of flavor from the Ye’Qimem Zeyet (seasoned oil) and berbere powder. The spices really take this Mac’n’Cheesie to another level. I love this on injera or on its own.
Ayib Be’Gomen (Tender Collard Greens Mixed with Soft Cheese)
This recipe combines cultured vegan cheese (Ayib) and seasoned oil (Ye’Qimem Zeyet) with collard greens. Very delicious as a filling for puff pastries or possibly samosas, and also makes a great substitution for Indian spinach & paneer. This dish is from the section of Teff Love featuring recipes inspired by Ethiopian flavors.
I have permission to share one recipe, Ye’Denich Be’Kaysir Atakilt (Tender Potatoes with Pickled Beets and Onion in a Lime Vinaigrette).
Refreshing beet salad with cubed potatoes. Since this is a full-flavored sour salad, I prefer to eat it on its own instead of pairing it with the traditional sourdough injera. The beetroot gives the salad a lovely rich red color. Get the recipe at the end of the post.
Serve this bright-magenta salad at your next Ethiopian picnic party. The soft pickled beets, creamy potatoes, and sweet-tart dressing will dazzle your guests inside and out.
Put the oil, lime juice, mustard, agave nectar, and salt in a medium bowl and stir well to combine. Add the beets and onion and stir gently to combine. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 12 hours.
Put the potatoes in a large bowl and add the beet mixture. Stir gently to combine. Season to taste with pepper and addi- tional salt if desired. Cover and refrigerate until cold.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking, copyright © 2015. Published by Book Publishing Company.
More Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking Recipes
Hearty Lentils in a Flavorful Garlic-Ginger Sauce from Our Hen House
Lentil Sambusa Filling from Hipster Food
Quick Teff Crepes from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen
Quick Teff Crepes from Windy Vegan City
Stewed Seasoned Cabbage in Golden Tomato Sauce from Veg Kitchen with Nava Atlas
Kittee Berns and her publisher Book Publishing Co. are giving away one copy of Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking to US entrants only. The giveaway will run through 11:59pm PST on 8th March 2015.
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