While in Washington, DC last week for our presentation at USAID, I had a wonderful Ethiopian dinner at the home of Franck DeRose and Paulos Moges Arepa.  Paulos made all of the food himself, and it was so delicious that I just had to write a post about it 🙂  If you’ve never had Ethiopian food, consider this a brief introduction for you:

Our Ethiopian dinner in Washington, DC

Our Ethiopian dinner in Washington, DC

Paulos served the food in a traditional basket, or messbo in Amharic*, made from Ethiopian grass.  This is primarily used for holidays and celebrations like Easter, Christmas and the New Year.  The plate inside the basket is lined with ingeria, a soft, flat bread made from teff which is a grain almost exclusively grown in Ethiopia.  The food is served directly on top of the ingeria.

Ethiopian food is divided into two categories:  fasting and non-fasting. The meal that Paulos made is a mixtures of the two, with the majority being fasting food.

Paulos served the following for dinner, which are all fasting foods:
Tmetem, tomato
Keyser, red beet
Gomena, cabbage
Keke, chick peas
Mesere, lentils**
**There are two kinds of mesere in Ethiopia:  those with a shell or skin, and those without a shell or skin.
Shero, ground beans***
***This is the most common Ethiopian fasting food.  The majority of people have shero in their homes because it is easily available, very inexpensive and delicious!  It is made from beans that are processed into a powder.

Paulos also served the following non-fasting foods for dinner:
Ayebe, cheese
Key watt, a dish made from beef
(These two are my absolute favorite!)

*Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, uses its own alphabet. Paulos helped me to transliterate the Amharic words in this post using our Latin alphabet, but please note that there is no official transliteration for these words.

Paulos and the Ethiopian dinner he made!

Paulos and the Ethiopian dinner he made. Amesege'nallo'! (Thank you!)