Introduction to Eritrean Cuisine
Eritrean cuisine is a fusion of East African, Middle Eastern, and European influences, with a distinct flavor that sets it apart from other African culinary traditions. The country’s cuisine is heavily influenced by its geographic location, which is situated along the Red Sea, and its history of colonization by various empires, such as the Ottoman Empire and the Italians. Eritrean cuisine is characterized by its use of unique spices, herbs, and cooking techniques, and its emphasis on communal dining.
Traditional Ingredients and Dishes
Traditional Eritrean dishes are typically served on a large platter, with a variety of stews, salads, and breads arranged around a central portion of injera, a sourdough flatbread made from teff flour. Some of the most common Eritrean dishes include tsebhi (a stew made from beef, lamb, or chicken, and flavored with spices, onions, and tomatoes), zigni (a spicy beef stew), shiro (a chickpea stew served with injera), and ful (a fava bean stew). Other popular ingredients used in Eritrean cuisine include berbere (a spicy seasoning made from ground chili peppers, coriander, and other spices), niter kibbeh (a clarified butter infused with spices), and tej (a honey wine).
Popular Eritrean Restaurants and Recipes
Eritrean cuisine is slowly gaining popularity in the United States, with a number of restaurants and food trucks serving up traditional Eritrean dishes. Some of the most well-known Eritrean restaurants in the US include Awash Ethiopian Restaurant (with locations in New York City and Washington, D.C.), Asmara Restaurant in Oakland, California, and Red Sea Restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to dining out, many Eritrean Americans also prepare traditional dishes at home, with popular recipes including tsebhi derho (a chicken stew), injera, and shiro.