Comforting stews mixed with exotic spices eaten hand-to-mouth with pinches of tangy flatbread called injera sum up the interactive pleasure of dining at 18-year-old Café Lalibela in Tempe. The only way to make Ethiopian cuisine more intimate would be to eat it in your own home – and now you can.
Chef Atsade Desta and her daughter Salam Beyene (also the restaurant’s manager) recently created an enticing retail line of their most popular vegan dishes, available at Whole Foods locations throughout the Valley (look for them in the refrigerated section).
Choose from five stews ($5.99 each), including spicy misir (red lentils spiced with berbere, a highly flavorful and aromatic mixture of chiles and warm spices); yekik alicha (buttery yellow split peas); gomen (onion-and-garlic-flavored collard greens); tikil gomen (mildly spiced cabbage, carrots and potatoes with turmeric and cumin); and fosolia (stewed tomatoes with green beans and carrots). Eat these delicious stews chilled or warmed (our preference) with injera ($2.50 for two 16-inch rounds) – thin, spongy sourdough bread made from teff, a nutritious ancient grain. Utensils are optional.