The Potential of the "False Banana"
About 20 million people in Ethiopia cultivate a plant that some scientists are calling the next "super food." Enset or "false banana" is a staple for people such as the Dorze in southern Ethiopia. The fruit of the tree is inedible but the stems and roots can be used to make nutritious bread and porridge.
According to Doctor Dr James Borrell speaking to the BBC:
"Enset has some really unusual traits that make it absolutely unique as a crop." "You plant it at any time, you harvest it at any time and it's perennial. That's why they call it the tree against hunger."
Researchers at nearby Arba Minch University are exploring ways to reduce the fermentation time required to make enset edible and believe that one day it could be the staple food for up to 100 million people.
You can visit a Dorze village on any of our Omo Valley tours and sample some fresh enset bread.
Beyaynetu (Variety Vegetarian Dish)
Abiye Tsome - (Lent)
For observant Ethiopian Orthodox Christians over the age of seven, today is the beginning of the fasting period called “Abiye Tsome” which leads up to Easter. For those observing the fast, no animal products will be consumed for the next 55 days and meals should only be consumed after 3:30pm following the daily mass.
There are 180 fasting days throughout the year for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and perhaps because of this Ethiopian cuisine has developed many delicious vegetarian dishes.
In this photo of a “Beyaynetu” or “fasting food combination” you can see cabbage with potatoes; beets; gomen (similar to collard greens); lentils, spicy and non spicy; chick peas, spicy and non spicy; and shiro, a stew made of ground chick peas. All are served on “injera” a spongy bread made from the grain “tef.” You can try most of these tasty dishes throughout Ethiopia at any time of the year.