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

Monday, September 27, 2010

Telba Fitfit (Flax Water Mixed with Injera)

"Telba Fitfit is a refreshing meal for a hot day or after fasting.  May act as a mild laxative." ~ D. J. Mesfin, Exotic Ethiopian Cooking, p .203

Don't get too excited about that injera -- I didn't make it!
Today's repast veered ever so slightly into the alternative medicine arena.  :)  I actually love flax seeds and we often use them on our cereal in the morning, so I had some in the freezer ready to go.  Except I forgot that when I was out shopping and bought another package (Trader Joe's has them for an awesome price).

This was a simple and quick meal to make and interesting.  It is served cold and that, combined with the presence of cinnamon, made me think that it would be a better breakfast meal than a dinner meal, despite the berbere included in it.

The first step was to take the flaxseeds:

Trader Joe's brand is much cheaper!
I poured them into a frying pan and toasted them, which smelled heavenly!

After toasting and letting them cool a bit, I threw them into the poor, abused coffee grinder:

prior to grinding...forgive the battle scars/stains
after grinding
Those of you who are among my Facebook coterie may have seen a status message last Friday bemoaning the fact that I failed to clean the grinder well enough after grinding the cardamom for the yesiga t'ibs last week.  For the rest of you, what happened was that, Friday morning, I pulled out my brand new bag of Starbucks Ethiopian Limu (sadly, they seem to have done away with the Sidama and replaced it with the Limu), put the beans in the inadequately cleaned grinder, brewed, and ended up with cardamom-laced coffee, which, alone, may have been not too bad, but I had also added some chocolate milk.  It was a little too antiseptic-y and the two tastes together were not working for me!

Once upon a time, I had had two coffee grinders and kept them for separate uses, but I burned one out grinding (human-grade) puppy food for the bird's food (I have a starling).  I keep meaning to buy another one (I've decided that, in an ideal world, I should own three), but every time I'm in front of them in the store, I keep thinking I don't want to spend that whole $20 on them.  The cardamom fiasco definitely changed my mind and I resolved to fix this...until I discovered I had a second grinder all along, hidden in the plastic bin in which I keep my Salad Shooter.  So the cardamom grinder is now the official spice grinder (I labeled it and everything) and the other grinder will be my coffee grinder.  

After grinding, I added cinnamon (left), a meager teaspoon of berbere (right; usually measured in cups around here), and salt:

Then I added water:

And torn up bits injera:

I pulled the mail-order injera out of the freezer, since it lends itself quite well to fitfit.  It was only as I was preparing this dish that I thought "hmm, perhaps I should have made some injera to use to eat the fitfit".  Since injera is anything but a last minute chore, I decided to just use up the last of the mail-order injera.  Microwaving it a little bit improved its texture quite a bit, though it still left an odd residue that kind of turns us off.  

The fitfit was placed in the refrigerator until dinner time.  This was quite a filling dish and it seemed like we barely made a dent in it.  As I mentioned above, it seems like it would be a great dish for breakfast or, as the book notes, a nice cold dinner on a hot summer's day.  The cinnamon imparted a nice sweetness to it and the berbere was almost completely unnoticeable, while at the same time adding just a little something.  It's not a meal that's going to make it into our regular rotation (my husband prefers meat and berbere), but it was nice to try something a little different!  In researching this dish, I noticed it being offered as an appetizer on several Ethiopian restaurant menus, and I think that it would work perfectly in such a role.  

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