Kitfo, a dish of minced raw beef, butter and spices, is Ethiopia’s amped-up answer to steak tartare.
The turmeric and ginger notes in the yellow split pea stew kik alecha remind me of Indian chana dal.
Whenever I write about Ethiopian cuisine, I can’t resist relating dishes to more familiar foods. The comparisons aren’t precisely accurate, of course, but I find they’re a helpful way to describe a cuisine that’s relatively little known in these parts. (By my count, only six Ethiopian restaurants have opened in the Triangle in the 23 years I’ve been writing about the local food scene).
Until now, though, I’ve never compared an Ethiopian dish to a taco. That’s just what Goorsha Durham’s kitfo presentation calls to mind: injera cut into taco size rounds, folded around kitfo and spinach (the “lettuce”), and topped with crumbles of Ethiopian fresh cheese (“queso fresco”). They’re even folded taco style, and served two to an order on a taco tray.
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The kitfo presentation is a fetching example of Goorsha’s self-described “modern Ethiopian cuisine,” but it’s by no means the only one. Sambusas, savory pastries with a filling of lentils, onions, garlic and jalapeños wrapped in shatter-crisp phyllo, come with a pungent green sauce served in a sleek ceramic spoon of the sort used for tasting menus. Entrees are served on elegant rectangular platters.
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