Ethiopian Breakfast: Chechebsa (Kita Firfir)

Addis Ababa - Chechebsa

Chechebsa, or kita firfir, (in Amharic, ቂጣ ፍርፍር ጨጨብሳ)  is a breakfast food hailing from Ethiopia.

Chechebsa’s primary ingredient is teff, a grain nearly the size of a poppy seed, which comes from present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea.  Teff is used to make injera, the sour spongy bread ubiquitous in Ethiopian restaurants throughout the world.

In this dish, teff is used to prepare kita, a bread similar to chapati, which also happens to contain the Ethiopian spice blend berbere, as well as niter kibbe, or clarified butter (ghee); ghee just refers to butter in which all of the water has been strained.  Then, it’s all fried, chopped up, and placed in bowl, ready to fill up any unsuspecting ferenji (foreigner).

Although some versions can be made with vegetables, the chechebsa I ordered was served with honey.  Without a sweetener, it was very dry, and somehow even heavier.

Lablabi: Tunisian Chickpea Stew (لبلابي)

Monastir, Tunisia - Lablabli 1I was inadvertently introduced to lablabi (لبلابي) while walking around Monastir, Tunisia.  Some local market workers were taking their lunch break to crowd a small kiosk in the middle of a pedestrian block.  Nearly twenty more people got in their orders before I was noticed, even though I was perched in front of the chefs all along.  Now that I know the name of the snack, I greatly look forward to wildly mispronouncing lablabi.

Monastir, Tunisia - Lablabli 2Counting chickpeas as the base ingredient, garlic, cumin, and olive oil make up the rest of the vegetarian dish.  Piquant harissa – a North African hot sauce made with regional Baklouti peppers is often added on top, and stale bread is used to sop it all up.  Olives and pickles are staple accompaniments of this Maghrebi country.

%d bloggers like this: