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Ethiopia : Yeshimbra Asa: Pea Flour Fish
More by user: fwitcher
Created: 26th Jun 2009
Modified: 26th Jun 2009
Soups, Snacks and Appetizers
The Africa News Cookbook
1 hour

The Ethiopian Coptic church still uses the ancient sign of the fish as a symbol for Christianity. These chickpea flour fish are traditional during Lent, when fasting rules require that no meat or dairy products be eaten. Flour made chickpeas can be found at many natural food ethnic groceries.
  • 1/2 cup onions or shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tblsp. cayenne pper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 berbere
  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • oil for frying

In a dry, heavy pot, stir the onions over low heat until browned. Add 1/5 cup water along with the cayenne, salt and oil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes before adding another 2/3 cup water and berbere. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat, stirring occasionally. (This mixture will serve as both a cooking medium and a sauce.)

Meanwhile, add just enough water to the pea flour to make a thick dough, similar to that for rolled cookies. Try using 1/2 cup water, though you may find you need another 1/4 cup or so, a teaspoon at a time, until the mixture adheres to itself to form a ball. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/4 inch, and cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife. Ethiopians make fish shapes and decorate them with all sorts of designs.

Fry the pieces in moderately hot oil in a heavy skillet for 3-4 minutes, turning serveral times. When they are crisp and brown, cautiously spoon them into the sauce pot. Simmer gently for 5 or 6 minutes, being careful not to break the shapes. Lift pieces out with a slotted spoon, drain on clean clothes and serve with the sauce.

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