The book club in which I participate is comprised of a semi-permanent, semi-shifting group of about 25 women who meet once a month to discuss a book, eat, and giggle until all hours of the night. Since I've attended we've read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Spy Wore Red, The Book Thief, Bel Canto, among others.

This month's read was
There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene. Ms. Green tells the story of AIDS globally, it's path through Ethiopia, the orphan crisis there, and what one woman did to impact the lives of hundreds of those orphans. It is a heart wrenching, enlightening book and I was so happy to share this book with so many of my friends.

I also love Ms Greene because she is a fellow mother: four homegrown, one child from Bulgaria and four from Ethiopia. She has written some other pretty great stuff like Praying for Sheetrock.

I am also so happy my sister Allie, my Mom, Mother-in-law Marianne and my Grandma Pearl have joined in and read TINMWY as well. They have all felt a little more connected to Ethiopia and our adoption process after having read it.

As host and discussion leader I decided in the spirit of sharing a bit of culture to take a crack at Ethiopian food. Hubs and I love it and eat it often, but I've never made it.

Here is what you need to start out:


The group of spices (which is missing fenugreek; I just didn't have time to track that random one down. I had everything else would you believe it??) is mixed up to create a mildly burning chili powder called Berbere, which is in many Ethiopian dishes. Now, I am not a connoisseur by any means, but Ethiopians will swear the food is very hot, burns your mouth and to be careful. I have yet to have my nose run, eyes water and lose sense of taste and smell, like with some Mexican dishes.

Doro Wat - The most basic and perhaps one of the most common traditional dishes. A chicken stew.

· juice of one lemon
· two teaspoons salt
· 4 lbs chicken (scored with knife to facilitate marination)

. two (or more) onions, finely chopped
· four tablespoons niter kebbeh (or butter)
· four cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
· one piece fresh ginger root -- cleaned, scraped, and chopped (about a teaspoon)
· 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
· 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
· 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
· 2 teaspoons berberé (paprika and chilies and pepper mostly)

· 1 small tomato, chopped or a few tablespoons tomato paste or tomato sauce (optional)
· 1-2 cups chicken stock + dry red wine


In a glass bowl, combine the lemon juice half the salt, and chicken pieces. Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Cook the onions over medium heat for a few minutes in a dry (no oil) pot or dutch oven large enough to eventually hold all of the ingredients. Stir constantly to prevent them from browning or burning; reduce heat or remove the pot from the heat if necessary.

(Some cooks add the niter kebbeh at the start, but dry-cooking the onions for a few minutes gives the dish a distinctive flavor. )

Add butter to the onions, along with the garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom, nutmeg, remaining salt, berberé (or cayenne pepper and paprika), and tomato. Stir and simmer for a few minutes. The onions should be soft, tender, and translucent, but not browned.

Add the chicken stock and dry red wine. Bring the mixture to a low boil while stirring gently. Cook for a few minutes, then reduce heat.

Add the chicken pieces, making sure to cover them with the sauce. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes — or until the chicken is done — turning the chicken a few times. Shred chicken finely with forks.

Eat. Die of happiness. Repeat.


2 cups chickpea flour (very hard to find. I found an Ethiopian family-owned convenience store in Back Bay which is now my source of all things Ethiopian. The owner's wife makes fresh injera DAILY. It's heavenly and I bought some for book group because I can't find teff flour (their answer to tradition American wheat flour) and it's hard to make.

1/3 cup berbere

2.5 cups water
3/4 cup oil
1 cup red onion
1 tablespoon mustard
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt to taste

1. Mix chickpea flour with berbere and water and 1/2 the oil. Simmer 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, work onions without oil gently until transparent.
3. Mix all together

Misir Wot
1 lb lentils
6 cups water or vegetable broth
2 cups mild green chili, roasted peeled, seeded and chopped (I didn't have chilis and used bell pepper. Worked Great and made sure it was milder for the group)
2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic clove, minced (or more)
fresh ground black pepper

BEREBERE SPICE MIX + store bought Ethiopian pepper sauce pictured. I was a wimp. And the owner of Ethiopian store says it's to die for. He's right. It's SO good.


Bring lentils and broth to boil and simmer 10 minutes.
Add chiles, onion, garlic, and Berebere spices and sauce. Cook covered for another 30 minutes, until most of liquid is absorbed.

All of this MUST be eaten with injera. And friends.
I did something I almost never do: got so busy chatting and eating and discussing I forgot to take a picture of everyone. It was just that fun. Thanks everyone for coming over!