Doro Wat

Doro Wat

I love Ethiopian food, and probably eat it once every two weeks or so. It wasn’t soon after getting into Ethiopian that I thought about cooking it. My resolve got stronger once I went into Dukem’s market and saw they had injera bread and  berbere spice mixes for sale, which without I probably would be unable to cook Ethiopian. Making my own injera bread? I don’t think so.

So I settled on making Doro Wat, the national dish of Ethiopia, mostly because once I thought about my favorite dishes from Ethiopian restaurants they were vegetarian platters that involve 5 individual stews – which would probably take me days to cook. This, at a little over 4 hours, was more manageable. I divided the recipe by 3 so I wouldn’t have leftovers for weeks (it serves 12), got rid of the hard-boiled eggs (never really been a fan of random hard cooked eggs in dishes – salads, fried rice, etc) and substituted dry white wine for sweet wine because it’s what I had on hand.

My jumping off point to find Ethiopian recipes was here, it was merely a coincidence that the recipe I chose came from the Washington Post. The Doro Wat was pretty great, if not very pretty to look at (nor is much of Ethiopian food, when you’re poor you’re not really worrying about the presentation of your food). The berbere spice mix did a lot to make it taste authentically Ethiopian, and while the dish was spicy the sweetness of the onions cooking for 4 hours helped balance out the flavors. I ended up having to make my own nitir kibe, or spiced butter, because I couldn’t find any at Dukem, but that worked out fine. It was satisfying to make my own Ethiopian dish successfully, but with the over 4 hours I spent making it, I think I’ll be ordering takeout from Ethiopian restaurants more than I’ll be cooking the cuisine myself.

Chicken with fig sauce

Chicken with fig sauce

I found this recipe from Mark Bittman’s blog a few weeks ago and thought, hmm this would taste good, and it sounds like it’d be pretty cheap too. Ah: gourmet on a budget.

This chicken tasted better than I thought it would, I was afraid the sweet would overwhelm the dish, but it doesn’t. It was exotic, complex, spicy, smoky, different, and interesting. The sweet hits your palate when you first take a bite, and then the spicy from the cayenne hits you at the finish. This recipe is totally a keeper. Plus, it takes 20-30 minutes to make, so not only is it cheap and good, it’s fast to make.

Budget: $10, serves approximately 4, so $2 a serving.

Recipe details after the jump.

A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet dishes.

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Inspired by many features, most recently Best Bite’s Kelly Dinardo’s Frugal Foodie (and also inspired by being unemployed) I’ve decided to start a regular feature in which I spotlight great dishes made on an unemployed writer’s budget. As with many other similar features, I won’t include pantry staples (onions, garlic, olive oil, butter, dried spices, eggs, flour etc) in the final price.

Coq au vin

Coq au vin

First up: coq au vin, that classic French dish that many may consider too gourmet to make on their own, or too expensive, because it’s French or something. Well here I am to prove you wrong.

Budget: $20, including wine and port, serves 6 to 8 – so per serving this dish costs $2 to $3. This dish would obviously be a lot cheaper without the bottle of wine needed.

I started off of a Epicurious recipe that stayed (mostly) true to the classic French dish and modified it to make it a bit easier as well as cheaper. This can be time consuming, but I have some suggestions for time-saving techniques if you don’t want to make this an overnight affair. More details after the jump.

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