I must admit that I had to acquire a taste for Tella, but it's smooth flavor soon won me over!
Tella is the Ethiopian beer, believed to be over 10,000 years old, that is the most popular alcoholic drink in Ethiopia.
As diverse as Ethiopia itself, there are many varieties of Tella. It can be brewed with barley, wheat, millet, surghum, or teff. Gesho leaves, from a local Ethiopian bush, are also used in Tella production.
The process is similiar to the making of store bought beer in that the grain starch is converted into sugars by malting. The difference is that with Tella, there is no added yeast for fermentation as it uses the natural yeast that is present in the grain.
A home in Ethiopia signals that it brews tella by placing a colored rag on an upright pole in front of the house. That way, people passing by can stop in for a cheap drink and good conversation!
If you like trying new varieities of home brew or are just a craft beer lover.....Tella is an interesting discovery!
The Big Buna Bash will soon be out in two additional languages: Hebrew and Amharic!
Because Israel is my home! The Ethiopian Jewish community brought their tradition of buna with them from Ethiopia to Israel. That's how I learned the magic of buna!
For the kids in Ethiopia! I want them to be able to read The Big Buna Bash in their own mother tongue.
These new versions will be marketed by Brandylane Publishers, alongside the original English version.
In Ethiopia, coffee is a way of life! Ethiopians have been drinking coffee from the earliest times. But they aren't the only place with a strong coffee culture. All over the globe, coffee-lovers are consuming and preparing coffee in different ways!
For instance, Italy gave the world the terms that have become universal in coffee ordering:
Italy also has some of the oldest operating cafes in the world.
The Netherlands boasts "koffie verkeert" or "coffee wrong", a cafe au lait served in a glass cup.
Vietnamese coffee is made in a personal drip pot and served with sweetened condensed milk.
In Australia, quality wins over quantity! The Austrailian silky shiny latte makes coffee-making an art with perfectly frothed milk. Starbucks didn't survive for long in Australia!
In India, coffee culture is a relatively new thing! The Indians usually drank their coffee with milk so the quality of the coffee wasn't so important, as the milk masqued it's flavor. Indains start their day with a big tumbler of strong filter coffee with boiled milk and sugar added.
In Turkey, coffee grounds are boiled and served black and bubbly in ornate cups!
Cuba has "Cortodito", a sweetened espresso with seamed milk.
Korean coffee consumption is on the rise! Coffee didn't arrive there until 1896 when King Gojong first tried it and spread the word. A popular coffee in Korea is called "Dalgona", a cold latte with a sweet, bitter coffee foam on top.
Teff is the main ingredient for preparing injera, the popular Ethiopian fermented flatbread. It is a healthy wheat alternative that is high in resistant starch, a newly-discovered type of dietary fiber that can benefit blood sugar, colon health and weight loss.
Teff is an ancient species of grass native to Ethiopian/Eritrea, that is cultivated for it's edible seed and usually made into flour. These seeds are about the size of a poppy seed but are packed full of fiber and calcium.
Most Teff is grown in Eastern Africa, but the State of Idaho produces some of the best quality Teff in the world!
Teff Seed Bread
Author: Chef Christina Murray
Serves: 2 loaves
A jebena is the elegant Ethiopian/Eritrean coffee pot that makes and serves coffee in the traditional buna ceremony (in Eritrea it's bun).
The Jebena is usually made out of clay, wide-bottomed with a long, narrow neck and a handle where the neck connects with the base.
The Ethiopian jebena has a pouring spout while the Eritrean variety pours from the opening on the top.
When the coffee boils up through the jebena's neck, it is poured in and out of another container to cool it. The liquid is then poured back into the jebena until it bubbles up.
When the coffee is poured, a strainer, often made of horsehair, is put inside the neck to keep the coffee grounds from escaping.
The result is dark, somewhat bitter, piping hot coffee. And, remember, jebena buna is never drunk alone!
Injera and Wat
Ethiopian cuisine is best known for the sourdough flatbread called injera. Injera is about 20 inches in diameter and made from fermented teff flour. Teff is called the world's smallest grain and is unique to Ethiopia. No Gluten !!
But what is injera without wat? Wat is the hot, spicy stew that is served on top of the injera. There are lots of different varieties of wat: chicken, beef, lamb, vegetarian, lentils or ground split peas. If you order the restaurant's variety plate, you'll be sure to get a few kinds. Eat it with your fingers by tearing off a piece of injera and dipping it in the wat.
Shiro might look like slop, but it's amazing! Made with chickpea or bean puree', it's a vegetarians delight. With added onion, garlic, and whatever spices are used in that region, this simple dish comes alive.
For another vegetarian delicacy, gomen kitfo is made from collard greens that are boiled, dried, and then chopped and served with butter, chili peppers, and spices.
There are many varieties of this dish depending on the type and size of cuts of meat used, but it's basically meat and vegetables saute'ed together. Like in many Ethiopian dishes, the main spice used in tibs is berbere, a combination of powered chili pepper, cumin, coriander, and cardamon.
t’iru yemigibi filagoti……..good appetite!
I had so much fun writing The Big Buna Bash, and I want to share it to inspire cultural pride in kids who might feel like they don't fit in because of their differences. I believe in diversity and inclusion; that's why I wrote The Big Buna Bash!