We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Misr and other wots

One of the best parts of being in Egypt is the Ethiopian food. You wouldn’t expect that, would you? In fact, I don’t know of any Ethiopian restaurants in Cairo. (If someone reading this does, please let me know.)

Photo by eekim.

Our Ethiopian housekeeper/nanny/maid (some Cairenes use the term “servant” which just sounds all sorta wrong to me) cooks for us most week nights, and often she makes Ethiopian food. Dinner usually includes misr wot (red lentils), misr alicha (less spicy lentils), and a vegetable dish or two like gomen (greens), cabbage, potatoes, or green beans. Every other week or so we have doro wot, basically chicken stew, which is a bit more complicated because the recipe includes something like a dozen onions.

I love it all, and I love that it’s vegetarian and cheap and keeps the boys connected to their home country.

We don’t know of any teff available locally, so we substitute regular whole wheat bread or pita-like local bread for injera, the pancake-like flat bread served under the main dishes.

By the way, the word “misr” in Arabic means Egypt. So to an Egyptian, it might sound like we’re eating Spicy Egypt. Yum, what a dish.

Anyway, this month the foodie magazine Saveur is featuring Ethiopian food. I was excited for new recipes when I realized all but one of their recipes are a regular part of our diet.


25 March 2008 - Posted by | ethiopia, food


  1. Isn’t there an Ethiopian restaurant in Maadi? Not that you need to go out, considering you’re blessed w/ the real deal at home!

    Comment by Cairogal | 25 March 2008

  2. I know that there was an Ethiopian restaurant in Maadi but that it was closed over a year ago. I heard the government closed it, though I’m not sure of the exact story behind that. I can imagine some scenarios though.

    Comment by cindy | 25 March 2008

  3. By the way, I’m surprised you can’t get injera. We get injera, although it is made with a mix of flours that do not include teff (unfortunately). But it tastes pretty authentic. I could have my supplier hook up with your people if you want…

    Comment by cindy | 25 March 2008

  4. Mmm…Ethiopian food. That’s one thing Mark and I miss from living in Atlanta, are there any good restaurants in our vicinity that you patronized in the States?

    Comment by Libby | 25 March 2008

  5. Cindy, we do sometimes get non-teff injera (usually when we have company over). I’m not sure where our housekeeper gets it, but it’s from some local person–maybe your supplier too?

    I’d love to have some teff injera since teff is really high in iron and protein, and it surprises me we don’t have it here in Cairo since Ethiopia is so close. Next time we hear of someone going to Addis, let’s ask them to bring some teff back. Would it get through customs, I wonder?

    Libby, there’s a great restaurant near NCSU called Abyssinia. Here’s a website with some info:

    There used to be two others closer to you, but they’ve both closed in the past year or two. Bummer.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 26 March 2008

  6. Thank you! I can’t wait to try it out!!

    Comment by Libby | 26 March 2008

  7. Yummm – ya’ll makin’ me hungreh. I’m calling Russell and telling him I want to go to an Ethiopian restaurant tonight. Don’t know if our injera is teff or non-teff. Have to admit I was “teff unaware” until this post.

    Comment by Julie | 27 March 2008

  8. Ah, teff. Apparently the word means something like “tiny” because it’s, well, tiny. Chock full of protein and iron. But I already said that, didn’t I?

    In the States I knew an Ethiopian woman who owned an Ethiopian restaurant, and she told me the taste for teff gets in your blood and all Ethiopians know this. So she said Bug, who was only in Ethiopia for about 18 months before he moved to the US with us, will always have a taste for it. I hope so.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 27 March 2008

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