I used to live just down the street from Zuma, but I had never been there. The non-descript store front failed to call me in, and I knew where to get good Ethiopian food, and was just as happy to drive across town for it. But as I prepared to cook my Ethiopian feast, the fact that Zuma claimed to be a grocery store as well as a restaurant turned out to serve me well. I went in just after they opened, around 10:15 in the morning, and found the place empty except for a small child playing with his toys. There were two large fridges, one filled solely with giant ziploc bags of berebere, the Ethiopian spice mixture I had come for. The second was filled with a mish mash of random stuff and soda pop. On the opposite side of the room were shelf after shelf of various kinds of lentils. I picked out my enormous bag of berebere ($8) and asked the friendly woman who had come out of the kitchen about nitter kibe, the spiced butter that my recipes called for. She went in to the back and brought me back a small plastic takeout container of it ($5). “Smell it,” she urged me. I did. As I sniffed the wonderful aroma, I knew my Ethiopian food would turn out well. With something this delicious smelling in it, there was no possibility of going wrong. I asked about injera, the lovely pancake like bread I was looking for to eat the food with. “Oh,” she said, looking concerned, “I’m running a little late, it is not ready yet.” Now, when searching for the freshest ingredients for a delicious feast, there are no better words you can here. She told me they would be ready in ten minutes. I walked across the street to the Greenwood Market where I was able to pick up the rest of my ingredients that I would need to make the feast. Upon my return, I was handed a giant plastic sealed bag still steaming with ten beautiful injera ($6). The fresh injera were so good that I devoured the first one totally plain when I got back to my house. The menu looked good, though I didn’t get the chance to try the food, I did notice they had kitfo, my very favorite Ethiopian dish.
Here is a photo of the final product. More posts to come with the recipes.