A white (faranje) adoptive mother to two Ethiopian (habesha) girls wends her way through
Exotic Ethiopian Cooking by D. J. Mesfin

Thursday, January 21, 2010

But'ech'a (Chick Pea Paste)

I only took this one photo of this dish, in its finished state.  

Things started to get a little interesting with this recipe, in the same way as they were interesting with my first batch of qibbe.  To start with, it called for powdered chickpeas or powdered lentils.  My husband is allergic to chickpeas, so powdered lentils it was going to have to be.  But I wasn't certain exactly what powdered lentils are.  Are they lentil flour?  Or some other preparation?  I could find lentil flour in a local Indian grocery store (where I'm able to find almost everything I need when I make Ethiopian food), but wasn't sure that sounded appetizing.  So I bought lentils and thought that I'd just attempt to grind them -- dry -- in my food processor.  

I have mentioned that I am NOT a professional cook, right?  

After several minutes with only a very fine coating of dust on top of the still-mostly intact lentils to show for it, it became clear that grinding them in the food processor wasn't working, so I added some water.  This also didn't work.  In hindsight, I should have pulled out the coffee grinder, but, instead, I decided to cook the lentils and then kind of mash them.  I think this worked fine, but, never having had real but'ech'a, I wouldn't really know.  I plan on asking the proprietor of our local Ethiopian restaurant about the correct preparation for this.  He's quite helpful and is always willing to answer a question or help you find a source for something.  

This dish had some berbere in it (but not much) and some mustard.  Thanks to the generosity of many, we are still using berbere purchased in Addis.  There is a recipe for homemade berbere in the book, but I haven't tried it yet.  With the mustard, I at least figured they were talking about dry mustard, not a prepared mustard, like Gulden's or French's, but after rifling through the book later that night, I discovered there was a recipe for Ethiopian mustard mentioned in the beginning of the book.  Live and learn.  

The but'ech'a had quite some kick to it and was so dense that it didn't take much to fill us up and we had some leftovers.  This time, we used some of the injera from EthiopianSpices.com, which we just don't like half as much as that we get from our local Ethiopian restaurant.  But, EthiopianSpices.com delivers to our door and, some days, that's all it takes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment