Eid al-Fitr and Ethiopian Cuisine BRANDON M. GREER TUESDAY MAY 24, 2010 WORLD HISTORY | MR. CASWELL THE CALVERTON SCHOOL
What is Eid Al-Fitr ?
According to the National Census, Eid Al-Fitr—a holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan—is observed by over 25 million Ethiopian citizens.
Its observers make-up nearly 30% of Ethiopia’s overall population—tied with Orthodox Christianity.
Because Ramadan is a time of fasting, the main activity of Eid Al-Fitr is excessive, gluttonous eating.
Barka Da Sallah The first event of Eid Al-Fitr is Barka Da Sallah. Barka Da Sallah means “the-break-after-fast” and is usually celebrated with extreme amounts of food, including that which you’re eating— Pudin Yemarina Yewotet Dabo, a custard soaked egg bread dish baked at 500° F. It’s baked at this high temperature to quickly expand the dough and create a unique texture.
Quick Fact: Of the estimated 1.57 billion Muslims around the world, 1.2 billion of them celebrate Eid al-Fitr. Those who do not observe it (nearly 300 million) generally say that the holiday is too secular to proceed the most reverent Ramadan. Person Protesting Eid Al-Fitr
ETHIOPIAN CUISINE Spice Flavor Complexity
BREAKFAST Firfir or fitfit, made from shredded Injera with spices, is a typical breakfast dish. Another popular breakfast food is dulet , a spicy mixture of tripe, liver, beef, and peppers with injera. Fatira consists of a large fried pancake made with flour, often with a layer of egg, eaten with honey. Chechebsa (or kita firfir) resembles a pancake covered with berbere and kibbeh, or spices, and may be eaten with a spoon.
DINNER Tibs Rather than being prepared as a stew, meat or vegetables may be sautéed to make tibs (also tebs, t'ibs, tibbs, etc.). Tibs is served normal or special, "special tibs" is served on a hot dish with vegetables (salad) mixed in. The mid-18th century European explorer to Ethiopia, Remedius Prutky, describes tibs as a portion of grilled meat served "to pay a particular compliment or show especial respect to someone.” Kitfo Another distinctive Ethiopian dish is kitfo (frequently listed as ketfo), which consists of raw (or rare) ground beef marinated in mitmita (mīṭmīṭā, a very spicy chili powder) and niter kibbeh. Gored gored is very similar to kitfo, but uses cubed, rather than ground, beef.
INJERA BREAD Injera is a yeast risen bread that is prepared flat, like a crepe. The most valued grain used to make injera is from the tiny, iron-rich teff. However, its production is limited to certain middle elevations and regions with adequate rainfall, so it is relatively expensive for the average household. Because the overwhelming majority of highland Ethiopians are poor farming households that grow their own subsistence grain, wheat, barley, corn, and/or rice flour are sometimes used to replace some or all of the teff content. There are also different varieties of injera in Ethiopia, such as nech (white), kay (red) and tikur (black). In making injera, teff flour is mixed with water and allowed to ferment for several days, as with sourdough starter. As a result of this process, injera has a mildly sour taste. The injera is then ready to bake into large flat pancakes, done either on a specialized electric stove or, more commonly, on a clay plate (mogogo) placed over a fire. Unusual for a yeast bread, the dough has sufficient liquidity to be poured onto the baking surface, rather than rolled out. In terms of shape, Injera compares to the French crepe and the South Indian dosai as a flatbread cooked in a circle and used as a base for other foods. The taste and texture, however, are quite unique and unlike the crepe and dosa.
BEVERAGES Tej Tej is a potent honey wine, similar to mead, that is frequently served in). Katikal and araki are inexpensive local spirits that are very strong.
Tella Tella is a home-brewed beer served in bars, which are also called "buna bets.” Coffee (Buna) Coffee (buna) supposedly originates from Ethiopia, and is a central part of Ethiopian beverages. Equally important is the ceremony which accompanies the serving of the coffee, which is often served from a jebena, a clay coffee pot in which the coffee is boiled. In most homes a dedicated coffee area is surrounded by fresh grass, with special furniture for the coffee maker. A complete ceremony has three rounds of coffee and is accompanied by the burning of frankincense, an oil based aromatic resin.