It’s very hard to stop eating quategna. Seriously. The spicy, buttery and crispy snack is simple Ethiopian comfort food beloved by both children and mothers who can whip it up quickly over a hot fire with ingredients found in most Ethiopian kitchens. It’s reminiscent of a French Crepe but has the same savory satisfaction factor as a grilled cheese sandwich. I learned this recipe from Konjit, a woman of many talents who runs a little slice of sophistication in Addis Ababa called Asni Gallery, a café and art gallery.
Konjit had a party at her gallery one night where she introduced a new mobile kitchen that a few artists had built for her. On the hot Metad (electric injera maker) she made the injera fresh, spreading the awaze and sprinkling the seeds on top, then folding it up hot into quarters and serving it like a French crepe.
Nit’ir Quibe (Spiced, clarified butter, see recipe archive)
Injera (pre-made are fine, or you can make them fresh, see recipe archive)
Awaze (Ethiopian spice paste, see recipe archive)
Nigella seed/Black Cumin
Heat a frying pan the size of your injera (or cut the injera to fit the pan) and add a generous dollop of Nitir Q’ibe until it melts and sizzles. Add injera and working quickly spread a spoonful of Awaze evenly over the surface, sprinkle with salt, sesame seeds and nigella seeds. Wait about a minute until the injera starts to fry around the edges then fold over like you would make an omelet. At this point it’s ready to go, but you can keep it in the frying pan until it reaches your desired crispness. From the pan, you might want to blot it before cutting it into wedges or folding in quarters.
Serve with napkins and a strong drink–sweet, bitter, fizzy or caffeinated. We love it with beer and Araki, the often-home brewed anise flavored Aperitif akin to Greek Ouzo. There are in fact subtle Greek influences in Ethiopia going as far back as the 18th century, which are seen today in the Greek Orthodox Church, and a school in Addis Ababa that caters to the small Greek population. Bambi, the big import supermarket in Addis is also Greek owned, and many Greek products are imported like nuts, honey and feta cheese.