Steak night, Ethiopian style.
Everyone loves a good beef dinner, right? Now make it Ethiopian and you will love it even more. Ethiopian food may be a less-common cuisine than Mexican or Italian. But it is certainly one of the more delicious and sophisticated. This Ethiopian Awaze Beef Tibs recipe shows you why — in a meal ready in less than 30 minutes.
I was fortunate to get this recipe by profiling Mary Johns of Open Kitchen DC, a company founded on connecting people and cultures through (delicious) food events in the D.C. area. Mary held an event at Hawwi Ethiopian Restaurant in Alexandria, VA, where owner Hanane included this recipe.
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First, What Is Ethiopian Food?
Enjoying Ethiopian food means a satisfying, often spicy, feast of many small dishes eaten with no utensils, all laid out on a wide sheet of spongy injera, a fermented flatbread of sourdough starter and teff. Ethiopia is a large, East African country at around nine degrees latitude. (In other words, it’s very close to the equator and very hot.)
The cuisine of this landlocked nation evolved as a meat- and vegetable-centric one, focused on simple, often spicy stews and numerous cooked dishes served spooned atop teff injera. Teff is an ancient grain native to East Africa, gluten free and loaded with protein and iron. American Ethiopian restaurants often cut their injera with wheat, since teff is pricey and harder to source in the States.
The Washington Post did a lengthy article a while back about Ethiopian food. Check it out here.
Ethiopian Food Vocabulary
Some relevant food terms (hat tip to Pop Sugar for the help):
- Injera: soft, spongy, fermented flatbread made of sourdough starter and teff, cooked on a griddle. Injera is used used as a utensil to pick up food.
- Tibs: a dish with cubed beef or lamb
- Awaze: a spicy red pepper paste blend. Awaze may include ingredients like onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and more.
- Berebere: a hot Ethiopian spice blend common to Ethiopian cooking made of chili peppers, ginger, garlic, cardamom, onions, cloves, cinnamon, basil, and salt.
Recipe Notes: Ethiopian Awaze Beef Tibs
Traditionally, this dish should be eaten with your hands, using injera as a “utensil” to scoop bites of food. But if injera is not easy or convenient to make or find, substitute rice.
Berebere can be easily found online, and is an essential flavor to the dish. It adds a good amount of heat as well.
This meal should come together in less than 30 minutes. Be sure the get the pan nice and hot before adding the beef. That way, you will get a nice brown sear on the meat.
Do you like Ethiopian food? What are your favorite dishes?
Hanane's Ethiopian Awaze Beef Tibs
- 1 pound ribeye steak, trimmed and cut into thin slices
- 1/4 onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon berebere spice blend
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon clarified butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped tomatoes (optional)
- Purée or mash the fresh ginger and garlic into a paste.
- In a bowl, mix together the steak, onion, rosemary, ginger, garlic, berebere and salt. Place a pan on medium heat. Add the oil and butter. When the pan is hot, place the spiced meat and onion mixture into the hot pan and cook for about 5 minutes. PRO TIP: Do not stir the meat right away. Let it sit in the hot pan for the first couple of minutes to brown on the bottom. Also, make sure you use a wide-enough pan so the meat does not steam. Steaming also prevents browning.
- Add ½ cup water and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add fresh chopped tomatoes if desired. Serve with rice, or with injera (which can be purchased from a local Ethiopian market).