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Lazyweb, Ethiopian

Dear Lazyweb,

My brother lives in Addis Ababa. This means I sometimes get cool stuff (like coffee straight from the highlands) and sometimes rather incomprehensible parcels in the mail. In this case, I have a sachet of "Raw Tikur Azmude" and a bag of very interestingly colored beans. See photo. Since my Amharic just isn’t what it needs to be — and I still have Hausa on the list of things to do above learning Amharic — I’m at a loss as to what to do with this. So anyone with some Ethiopian cooking hints, please drop me a note.

Love in International cooking,

[ade]

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4 Responses to “Lazyweb, Ethiopian”

  1. Jonas Says:

    I _think_ they might be black cumin or blackseeds. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_sativa

    It’s essentially used as a spice, or (if memory serves me from when I was in Addis Ababa, as an ingredient in medications for stomach aches of various kinds). My Amharic is almost non-existant so take this with a huge grain of salt.

    One thing (only thing I can remember actually, but I’m sure there are more) you can try is yellow spice bread. You’ll find the recipe, and several other Ethiopian dishes, at http://www.africanchop.com/chopwa.htm#ethio

  2. nva9foma Says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella_sativa
    About Tikur Azmude (Nigella Sativa)

  3. Dawit A. Says:

    Well I guess I can take a crack at this for you…

    The stuff in the plastic bag, “Raw Tikur Azmude”, is what would probably be commonly known as “black seeds” or “black cumin” in English. It is a spice and its actual name is Nigella sativa. It has a lot of uses including some believed to be of medicinal value. Though it is used for many purposes in Ethiopian cuisine, one of its most common use is in the process of spicing up the butter used for cooking the traditional meals from breakfast to dinner. If you have ever ate or tasted traditional food at a real authentic Ethiopian resturant, then the butter used to cook the food was probably spcied with this spice.

    The beans look like kidney beans, but I am not entirely sure. If there is a label on the plastic bag that contains them, then I might be able to decipher what those are as well. I guess I can easily find out as well…

    BTW, in case you are curious the text on what looks like the packaging stuff to the right states “best quality”. Can’t tell if it is talking about the content or the packaging itself though. :)

  4. adridg Says:

    @dawit, @nva9foma, @jonas: thanks! Cumin I know what to do with, and I’ve seen several recipes for making the spiced butter, so I’ll take that route. Incidentally, brussels sprouts (those small green cabbages) and berbere go really well together. Who’d have thought? Dawit: no writing on the beans, but I’ll treat them as kidney beans. In my experience kidkeys are smaller and solid red, not blotchy like these. These are almost too pretty to eat. And the “best quality” text is from the bag of Nure Harar coffee, which *is*, yes, best quality.