Eritrea (Africa) 3 October 2021

Eritrea is located in the continent of Africa. It has the Red Sea to the north, Yemen to the east, Djibouti and Ethiopia to the south, Sudan to the west and Egypt to the northwest.

The capital is Asmara.

The de facto “working” language of government are Tigrinya, English and Arabic.

The climate is wide and varied based on the elevations. They do get precipitation, but it also varies.

The staples are spicy stew, curried lentils, chickpeas, injera, pastas, cabbages, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, banana, citrus fruits, mangoes, papaya, peaches, watermelons, and so many more exciting tastes (https://worldinfozone.com/country.php?country=Eritrea):

https://www.britannica.com/place/Eritrea

ALITCHA BIRSEN (Lentils) (http://travelbystove.palfreymedia.com/eritrea-recipes-alitcha-birsen-lentils.asp):

  • 5 TBSP sunflower or other vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 oz tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 8 oz lentils
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 fresh red chilies, seeded and minced
  • 4 C boiling water
  1. Fry the garlic in the oil until it starts to turn a nice golden color, then take it off the heat.
  2. Add the sliced tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the lentils and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes.
  3. Add the water and the spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
  4. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour or until the lentils are tender.
Here is the Alitcha Birsen. I also added some curry and cayenne powder. It added another layer of flavor!!

INJERA (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/injera-ethiopian-flatbread-3364733):

  • 2 C teff flour
  • 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 C self-rising flour
  • Kosher salt
  1. Combine the teff flour and active dry yeast in a large bowl. Add 2 cups lukewarm water and whisk or, more traditionally, use your hand to mix everything together, making sure the mixture is absolutely smooth with no lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the mixture is bubbly and tastes sour like tangy yogurt, 36 to 48 hours. (It will start bubbling and rising in a matter of hours, but it can take anywhere from 36 to 48 hours to achieve a noticeable level of sourness, which is key to the flavor of the injera. (For a lightly quicker injera, add ½ cup plain yogurt to the teff/yeast mixture. Let ferment for 16 hours (instead of 36 to 48 hours), then proceed with the original recipe). After about 36 hours, begin tasting the mixture; this will help you determine when it’s just right and will prevent it from souring too much.
  2. At this point, the batter will look separated and watery on top. If you shake the bowl a little, you should see some bubbles rising to the top. Add the self-rising flour and up to 1 cup of water a little at a time. Whisk or use your hand to thoroughly combine into a smooth, then, pourable mixture with about the consistency of a slightly thicker crepe batter. Cover again and let it sit for 1 hour.
  3. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. Have a lid for the skillet and a wire baking rack nearby. Whisk 1 tsp salt into the batter (it will bubble up). Pour ¼ cup of the batter into the skillet, tilting and swirling to coat with a thin layer of batter. The batter should spread quickly and easily. (If it’s too thick, whisk in a little more water). Within a matter of seconds, you should start seeing small holes forming and the surface darkening as it cooks from the outside towards the center. When the injera is about ¾ of the way cooked, cover the skillet and let steam for 1 minute. The injera is cooked when the edges are dry and lifting up from the pan. Carefully run a spatula underneath and transfer to the baking rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. You can stack the injera only when they are completely cooled; otherwise, they will stick to each other. Wrap the stack of cooled injera with a dry, clean cloth or paper towels to keep them from drying out until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature, or microwave for 30 seconds to heat through.
I won’t lie, I was not sure if I would like the flavor of the Injera due to the sour smell, but it is really very good!

MANGO PAPAYA FRUIT SALAD (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/270424/mango-papaya-fruit-salad/):

  • ¼ C freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ C honey
  • 1 TBSP finely grated lime zest
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 mangos, peeled and diced, or to taste
  • 1 large papaya, peeled and diced
  1. Whisk lime juice, lime zest, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar together in a small bowl.
  2. Place mangos and papaya in a large bowl. Stir lime dressing again and pour over fruit. Lightly stir fruit and dressing, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Here is the Mango Papaya Fruit Salad. It has a great flavor with the dressing on it!!

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