Food lovers at the book fair dive into Ethiopia’s culinary heritage with chef Yohanis Gebreyesus
Continuing its celebration of global gastronomy, the 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF)’s popular Cookery Corner recently hosted a vibrant and flavorful exploration of ‘Ethiopian Cuisine’.
The 2022 James Beard Award winner, Yohanis Gebreyesus, showcased the diversity and richness of this East African cuisine, demonstrating the recipe of a hearty Ethiopian stew. His expertise unfolded as he initiated the creation by sautéing finely chopped onions in a generous amount of oil, patiently waiting for them to achieve a golden brown hue. This, he clarified, laid the foundation for the stew’s rich flavour profile.
The subsequent step involved the preparation of the berbere spice blend – a fragrant and spicy mixture that would give the dish complexity. This aromatic amalgamation, he informed, goes extremely well with an array of meats, and even lentils for those who take the vegetarian route.
To elevate the stew’s depth, the chef introduced additional ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, and ginger, each adding unique tanginess and warmth to the ensemble. The final touch was added with the patient slow cooking of the ingredients, allowing the meat to tenderise and the flavours to blend thoroughly.
The wholesome stew was served alongside injera, a sourdough flatbread designed to cut and complement the spiciness of the broth. The chef informed his audience, as they sampled the hot stew, that the dish is central to Ethiopian culture’s communal eating experience, as it brings members of a family and the community around this hearty dish.
Chef Gebreyesus also shared well-crafted anecdotes about the origins of other Ethiopian dishes and the cultural traditions surrounding them, enriching the audiences’ understanding.