Desserts are rarer in the Ethiopian cuisine when compared to loads of spicy main courses and side dishes the country has given birth to. From that perspective, this list of a few of the choicest sweet dishes from the African nation, along with their local names, and other relevant details, is sure to be enlightening.
1. Baklava – Popular Pastry Dessert Food
What is it: Quite a rich dessert pastry, it is made around the year, especially during occasions and holidays, and even for weddings and similar parties. It is made up of filo layers, filled with dry fruits and chopped nuts, and bound together with either a sugar syrup or honey.
What does it taste like: The beautiful aromas of dry fruits and nuts combine very well with the sweetened layer of syrup or honey so that it will melt in your mouth.
2. Himbasha – Traditional Sweet Flat Bread
What is it: Also called ‘Ambasha’, this is a traditional and decorative Ethiopian sweet flatbread that tastes as unique as it looks. Characterized by the typical wheel-like pattern, it is a common dish for Christmas. The flatbread can be consumed both as a dessert after a light meal, and a breakfast independently.
What does it taste like: Its sweet and savoury flavor is balanced perfectly by the amazing aroma of cardamom.
3. Ethiopian Coffee Cake – Baked Dish topped with Ice Cream
What is it: This is primarily a fusion of two famous foods from the country, where biscuits made from the popular Ethiopian coffee are topped with apricot ice cream (flavors may vary according to your preference).
What does it taste like: The amazing flavor of the coffee will immediately capture your olfactory, plus, the flavors of various other ingredients like vanilla, cream, yoghurt, and of course, apricot ice cream will indulge you in looking for more.
4. Ethiopian Fruit Salad – A Simple but Amazing Dessert Dish
What is it: This simple dish is made from assorted fruits, and is extremely healthy for your digestion. The choicest fruits are used not just stylishly, but also to fill you with contentment. Being one of those items that is as tasty as it is healthy, this fruit salad is a common item in many Ethiopian households.
What does it taste like: The colorful assortment of fruits like navel orange, mango, and papaya is a wonderful fest for your taste buds.
5. Injera – Popular Sweet Flat Bread
What is it: This is also a traditional sweet pan-fried flatbread, typically made of teff seed flour, and rolled with some sweet jelly or some other sweet stuffing like fruits. Though in modern times, due to less availability of teff, it may be made with barley, rice, wheat, or corn flours. The flatbread has a spongy texture, which makes it suitable for dessert-making, though it can be eaten with main course items as well.
What does it taste like: When served hot, the flavors of buttermilk and brown sugar release the best aromas. The relatively cold jam inside the roll will also charm your taste buds.
6. Tej – Sweet Honey Dessert Wine
What is it: This is a wine that is easy to prepare and hence, can be readily served right after your order a glass. The most interesting part is, this simple wine item is made of honey, which gives it a characteristic sweet taste, making it a wonderful dessert drink.
What does it taste like: The amazing taste of honey from the forests of Africa combine with chilled wine like they are just made for each other.
7. Injera Bread Pudding – Sweet Dairy-based Dessert
What is it: This is the pudding version of the simple injera bread detailed above, along with ingredients like eggs, vanilla, butter, and milk. Cooked in a traditional Ethiopian method, it is a modern take on common bread pudding as well as the authentic injera.
What does it taste like: The subtle flavors of butter and vanilla, combined perfectly with bread and eggs makes it quite irresistible.
8. Berbere-Spiced Pudding – Chocolate & Avocado Dessert
What is it: This is a very interesting dish in the sense that it is made from the typical Ethiopian berbere spice, combined with ground avocado, coconut milk, and date syrup among other ingredients.
What does it taste like: The main attraction of the dish is the bitter-sweet flavor of raw cacao powder, along with the smoky heat of berbere, and the creamy texture of whipped avocado.
So, now when you sit with your friends to plan for holidaying somewhere, let your destination be Ethiopia, especially if you are a big-time foodie. We bet, you will smile with a long sweet tooth, when you return!