At a previous job in Uptown, one of my bosses often joked that I ate the same food all the time. One day she encouraged me to join the rest of the staff at Demera Ethiopian Restaurant. I admit that at first, I was skeptical. I didn’t know anything about Ethiopian food and I sometimes consider myself to be a picky eater.
I was pleasantly surprised that when walking to the restaurant, I could smell the aroma of spices from a block away. When we all sat down and opened our menus, I learned that Ethiopian food is perfect for groups: instead of ordering one single dish, parties can order several items off the menu, which arrive on a wheel for the whole table to share. Traditional Ethiopian bread called injera, which is paper thin and has a spongy texture, lines the wheel so that you can use it for dipping and rolling into whatever you’ve ordered.
In Ethiopia, meat is scarce, so a lot of the authentic cuisine is vegetarian friendly. As it happened, all of the people in my group were vegetarians, so we ordered the vegetarian messob, a sampler of four different dishes on the menu. If you like spicy foods, one of the vegetarian options is the ye-misir wot: red lentils mixed with the restaurant’s special berbere sauce, a traditional Ethiopian sauce made with onions, garlic and ginger. Shiro is another dish made with the bebere sauce, included mixed legumes cooked with ginger root, rue seed and garlic. Even though this is also made with the bebere sauce, the tangy ginger spices made it was less spicy than the red lentils.
If you are fond of meat, don’t worry! There are still plenty of choices at Demera for you. Demera offers similar dishes that use lamb, poultry, beef and seafood. One popular seafood dish is the ye-shrimp tibs, with shrimp marinated with honey wine, rosemary, jalepeno, onions and tomatoes. The honey wine and jalepeno are complement each other with this dish for a sweet and spicy combination.
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