Yeshimbra Assa -- Ethiopian Chickpea "fish" and Sauce
This is traditionally served during Lent with a lentil salad and injera.
SERVES 4 -6
For the fritters
- 3 cups chickpea flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 3/4-1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons finely grated onions
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- vegetable oil, for frying
For the sauce
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup berbere
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
Sift the flour, 2 teaspoons of salt and the white pepper into a deep bowl.
Make a well in the centre and combine 3/4 cup water, the onions and garlic in the well.
Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the water and onions and, when blended, beat vigorously with a spoon or knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and can be gathered into a ball.
If the dough crumbles, add up to 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
With a small sharp knife, cut the dough into fish shapes about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. If you like, you can use the point of the knife to decorate the top of each "fish" with scales and fins.
Pour oil into a deep fryer or a large, heavy saucepan to a depth of 2-3 inches.
Heat until it reaches 350 F and fry the "fish" for 3-4 minutes, turning them frequently until they puff slightly and are golden brown.
As they brown, transfer them to paper towels to drain.
Once you are done the fish you can make the sauce.
In a heavy 10-12 inch wide pan (it's best if it's non-stick), cook the chopped onions for 5-6 minutes until they are soft and dry.
Pour in the 1/4 cup oil and when it's hot add the berbere and garlic and stir for a minute.
Pour in the 1 1/2 cups water and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Season with salt and then place the "fish" in the skillet and baste them with the sauce.
Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.
To serve, arrange the "fish" on a platter and pour the sauce over them.