What Is the Ethiopian Diet?

Written by megan burns
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What Is the Ethiopian Diet?
Ethiopian food is typically very spicy. (Ethiopia flag button image by Andrey Zyk from Fotolia.com)

The typical Ethiopian diet is often reflective of religious beliefs that frequently dictate what kinds of foods can be eaten and on what days. Generally, the Ethiopian diet revolves around different kinds of sauces, meats and vegetables eaten with a kind of flat bread called injera.

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Religious Rules and Restrictions

Ethiopian Orthodox followers do not eat meat, eggs or dairy products on Wednesdays and Fridays; in fact, they abstain from eating any animal product with the exception of fish on these particular days. They also observe various fasting periods, the longest of which is the Easter fast or Kudade Tsom, which lasts for 55 days.

Common Dishes

Ethiopian food on the whole is quite spicy. The spices add flavour to the standard dishes and also help to preserve foods without refrigeration. Berbere, a spicy paste, and Nitir Kibe, a pure, clarified butter, are commonly found in Ethiopian cooking. Injera is a flat, pancake-like bread used for dipping into Wot, or dipping sauces made from a variety of meat, fish and vegetables.

Method of Eating

It is traditional to eat Ethiopian food with your fingers. A large piece of injera is presented with the meal, and each person tears small pieces of the bread to wrap around bite-sized portions of the various dishes.

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