My first Fasika

5 May

I had randomly mentioned to the Chef a few days ago that I wanted to go out for Ethiopian this week. Well apparently when the lady asks…

Last night we attended Habesha Nights Fasika Celebration, an event hosted by Bunna Café, at ACME Studio in Williamsburg. Fasika, or Ethiopian Easter, is a climatic fasting period during the 56 days of Lent in which no meat or animal products of any kind are consumed. As the menu below confesses, we were celebrating the breaking of this fast. Not only was the food phenomenal and honey wine plentiful, but there was also live music and dancing as well as an authentic Traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

Evening’s Menu:

  • Injera: Ethiopian sourdough flatbread made with teff and barley
  • Misir Wot: Red lentils cooked with a spicy Berbere sauce, made of crushed red peppers and a mixture of garlic, ginger, cardamom, onion, and oil
  • Yater Kik Alicha: Yellow split peas cooked with red onion, ginger, garlic, herbs, and a touch of turmeric
  • Keysir: Simmered beets, potatoes, carrots, and onion
  • Gomen: Steamed kale, potatoes, and carrots, lightly salted
  • Shiro: Ground chickpeas cooked with minced onions, garlic, and ginger
  • Timatim Selata: Raw cut tomatoes, red onion, and peppers mixed with lime and olive oil
  • Yesuf Fitfit: Sunflower milk, tomato, and peppers mixed with crumbled injera
  • Kedija Selata: Kale, tomato, peppers, and avocado in an olive oil dressing
  • Daata: Spicy, cilantro-based sauce to add a kick to your meal
  • Ethiopian Baklava: light, crispy filo dough with pistachio and served on a bed of honey
  • Open bar: Ethiopian beers, Tej (honey wine), Shai Correnti signature cocktail (cold Ethiopian toddy consisting of Ethiopian spiced tea, lime juice, turbinado syrup, and whiskey served on the rocks)

ethiopian

The event was set up almost to imitate a large dinner party. Because Ethiopian dining is communal, we shared a large plate with another couple at our table. Despite the Chef’s teasing, we did not participate in the tradition of “Gursha.” Gursha is the making of a mix of dishes rolled in a strip of injera which you hand feed to your partner. The event encouraged it…but I did not (damn my preconceived American notions!)

Throughout dinner Tadele Daba and his music troupe provided entertainment including music from a  Kirar (Ethiopian guitar) and Kebero (drum). I may or may not have a video of the Chef breaking it down “Ethiopian gangham style” for anyone interested in bribing me for the footage…

Toward the end of the night it was finally time for the Coffee Ceremony. More than a caffeine fix, the Coffee Ceremony is an integral part of the social and cultural life in Ethiopia and the invitation to attend is considered a mark of friendship. Raw coffee beans are roasted, ground, and brewed in front of guests and create a robust, fragrant beverage. (Mmmm, coffee….)

coffee ceremony

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