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Teff Love Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking, Kittee Berns (2015)

Teff Love Adventures in Ethiopian Cooking by Kittee Berns - review by

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I’ve been waiting for an Ethiopian vegan cookbook since I first tasted this unique cuisine at Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant in Denver. Teff Love, Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking by Kittee Berns was definitely worth the wait.  This wonderful book will enable beginning and experienced cooks to enjoy delicious Ethiopian food at home – anytime!

Unfamiliarity with Ethiopian cuisine should not deter anyone from buying this book.  In fact, it is the uniqueness of the cuisine that makes this book so much fun!   Ethiopians eat using torn pieces of “injera” as utensils.  Injera is a flatbread or crepe made with fermented teff – a gluten free grain native to Ethiopia.  Kittee explains the process for making “ersho” – the teff sourdough starter used to create injera – in easy to understand steps.  A recipe for quick teff crepes is also included.  Although I had some initial difficulty making injera, I am so glad I kept at it and I encourage anyone who experiences any initial problems to do the same.

In addition to lots of flavorful recipes, Teff Love provides tips for food preparation, shopping lists, ingredient information and resources and suppliers.  Most of the recipes are surprisingly easy to prepare, notwithstanding my initial difficulty with injera.  None of the recipes require special equipment to prepare and most use ingredients one would typically have on hand or find available in any grocery store.  Specialty ingredients are well explained and shopping information is provided.

For those who are averse to spicy-hot foods, Teff Love has plenty of mild, flavorful recipes. However, heat-seeking individuals – like myself – will also not be disappointed.  Truth be told, there is not a recipe in the book that I do not intend to try.  Some of my favorites so far: ye’misser alicha (red lentils in a mild garlic-ginger sauce), ye’ater kik alicha (split peas in a mild sauce), kulet (a spicy red sauce) and ye’zelbo gomen be’ karot (kale with carrots, onion and mild spices).  My family is anxiously waiting for the Ethiopian style “Mac & Cheesie”.

Ethiopian food lends itself to celebrating.  Whether you are cooking for one or a crowd, the flavorful recipes in this book are cause for celebrating.  If you want to create great tasting Ethiopian dishes in your own kitchen, buy this book!

Kris Giovanini (2/28/2015)

Mocha Teff Brownies from Teff Love

  • 1 ¼ cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup each potato starch and tapioca starch
  • 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unbleached granulated sugar
  • 2 T water
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup teff flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup organic canola oil
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, not packed
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper

In a medium bowl, combine the sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder and salt and stir to combine.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water.  Cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly about 6 minutes, or until the sugar is mostly dissolved.  Do not let the mixture boil.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and rinse out the saucepan.

In the same saucepan, combine the teff flour and coffee and cook over medium high heat stirring constantly until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.  Once the mixture is the consistency of pudding, cook stirring for 1 minute longer.  Transfer to the bowl with the sugar and add the coconut oil.  Beat with an electric mixer until smooth, about 1 minute.  Mixture will be hot so be careful of splashes.

Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, flaxseeds and vanilla extract and beat until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until the batter is smooth.  Stop occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out the batter.  Be sure to get the batter into the corners of the pan.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the brownies have risen and the top is shiny and set and the corners firm.

Cool to room temperature and cut into squares.