Saturday, December 27, 2008

Taiwan-friendly ethnic food recipes (Ethiopian fusion satay)

Just a few favorites I've managed to concoct with a reasonable level of authenticity from ingredients available in Taiwan...nevermind that a lot of these seem to come from Jason's (Taipei 101 and Takashimaya) and City Super (the green SOGO).

I've compiled a list of ingredients for each and as I put them up, will note where one can buy each ingredient, at least if they seem hard to get.

All will be saved under the tag ethnic_food_recipes with the food described in the title.

I was going to start with something easy - Iranian salad - but decided instead to begin with something difficult - Ethiopian food.

It is possible to make real Ethiopian food in Taiwan, at least I know one can make various wots, alechas and tibs, but you can't get teff flour so it's impossible to make the injera bread that it's all eaten with. I had teff sent to me from the USA but not everyone has that I've concocted this delicious recipe as a compromise - keeping the original flavor of Ethiopian wot (spicy tomato based gravy) dishes but in a form accessible to those in Taiwan.

Hence, Ethiopian fusion satay. These were a huge hit at the Christmas party - a few pounds of chicken gone within an hour. Trust me, they will be well received.


white breastmeat chicken (real doro wot is made with drumsticks, but whatever, you need injera to eat that), cut into largish chunks - any Wellcome or day market

cucumbers - the small kind are better - any market

satay sticks - Wellcome

one large tomato and 1/2 white onion - any market

2 cloves garlic and about a teaspoon of chopped ginger - any market

1 bay leaf - spice section of large Wellcomes or Jason's

ghee (clarified butter) - Indian spice shop off exit 4 of Taipei City Hall MRT 2nd floor of a nondescript building near the Dante, Taipei Milk King and Korea Viand)

1 cinnamon stick or some powdered cinnamon - spice section of any supermarket

berbere spice powder - make your own from this website:

(It's not as hard as it sounds - spices all available at aforementioned Indian spice shop, Jason's or Cafe Alexandre on Zhongshan N. Road, Tianmu)...and you can use it again to season meat or soups.

salt, black pepper and lemon juice - anywhere

paprika - Jason's

some red wine if you feel like it


Slice the cucumbers into wide coins by working diagonally. Set aside.

Rub the chicken with some berbere, salt, lemon juice and black pepper to taste.

Chop onion and tomato finely.

Put ghee - measurements according to what is needed to cook your chosen amount of chicken - into a wok or cooking vessel and melt. Add a lot of paprika (1/3 of the bottle or so if it's sweet paprika, much less if it's spicy), some berbere, the cinnamon stick, garlic, ginger and bay leaf. Allow to cook briefly until it smells really good.

Add onion and tomato and cook briefly.

Add chicken.

Cook for awhile, then add more lemon juice, salt, berbere, black pepper etc. to taste. Throw in a little red wine at the end if you wish. Cook until chicken is just finished - any longer and it starts to get tough - and it should be coated now in a thick, spicy red gravy. Set aside to cool.

When the chicken is hot but manageable, don a pair of gloves or scrub your hands and skewer on satay sticks, alternating chicken/cucumber slice - I find that two chicken chunks and 2 cucumbers is good.

Serve as is, or with the spicy gravy left in the wok added to a little chicken broth with flour to thicken, or with a sauce of your own concocting. I use a sauce I make with alecha spice powder, lemon juice and turmeric but that's a whole other production).

This sounds hard, but really the only tough part is the berbere, and that isn't so tough once you have all the ingredients together. It helps to get a mortar and pestle to grind the ones that come whole, though a hammer and Ziploc bag works almost as well.


rootless orca said...

do you know if i can find ethiopian food in taiwan?

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

Unfortunately, as far as I know you can't (and I would probably have found it if it existed).

The best you can do, at least as far as I am aware, is to Google a recipe for bere-bere, go to Trinity Superstores (the Indian spice store near City Hall MRT) and Jason's for the ingredients, make it, then google a recipe for doro wot or some other dish and make it by hand.

Can't help on the injera. I had to have that shipped to me from the USA.