Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ras Dashen

Penny planned a "for no reason surprise" for her husband Chris last night! Chris had been trying to get a large group of us to go to Ras Dashen for Ethiopian comfort food for quite some time now, but scheduling the outing had become quite tricky. Penny arranged a date that worked for all of us and didn't tell Chris we were meeting him there!
How fun is that?
I had never eaten Ethiopian food before and maiden culinary voyages are few and far between for me these days. Consequently, I had been looking forward to our outing tremendously! I was genuinely surprised by by the richness of some of the dishes and loved the communal dining style. Ethiopian meals begin with the traditional breaking of the injera (thin sourdough flat bread) and sharing food from a common plate signifies the bonds of friendship.
The injera is used in place of utensils; small pieces of bread are used to pick up bites of food seasoned with niter kibbeh (butter flavored with garlic, ginger, onions and other spices) and berbere (a spicy red paste). My favorite dish of the evening was the national dish of Ethiopia. Doro Wat is a stewed chicken dish with egg in a berbere sauce...divine. Although the cuisine is high on spice and flavor it seems the experience is more about family table traditions than anything else. If you create a bite for someone else at the table and place it in their mouth it is called a goorsha...the bigger the goorsha the stronger the friendship!
What an absolutely perfect cuisine to enjoy among the best of friends!
Ras Dashen
5846 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60660


Anonymous said...

You certainly learn a lot about people when you dine on Ethiopian food with them. I've seen some friends really struggle with the idea of yanking a piece of bread off of a common "loaf" and then having to use it to pick up more food from a common plate. I love the custom, love the experience, and love the food!

Nubia said...

I've always wanted to go for Ethiopian food but need to go with someone who can point me in the right direction of flavors that will surprise and amaze me. Thanks to this post...I need to make that dinner date soon!

Mel said...

Nubia-Let's go! I'd like to go in a smaller group...

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