You might know Turkey best for its döner kebabs, baklava, and dried fruit. But did you know that breakfast, called kahvaltı (kah-val-TUH) is the most important meal in Turkey?
In my experience, most Turkish hotels will offer some combination of raw vegetables, breads, cheeses, cold cuts, and sweet spreads like honey and jam. Everything tastes fresh, there’s variety, even at the most humble of lodgings, and you can be sure that tea comes a flowin’.
However, if you’ve just got a short stay in Istanbul — even a long layover — why not check out Van Kahvaltı Evi for a primer on Turkish breakfast and hospitality? They’ve got two branches, the main one in Cihangir, near Taksim, and another in Nişantaşı, both on the European side of Istanbul.
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.