Are you a picky eater or an adventurous one? I like to think I’m a pretty adventurous eater, but there are some things that I absolutely haven’t and WON”T eat. Among those are raw fish, raw meat, snails, and those duck eggs with the baby duck in them. Yuck to all of these!
If you are an adventurous eater, and want to try something unlike anything you’ve ever had before, I’d like to make a recommendation to you. Ethiopian food. I doubt that many of you have ever tried this type of food before, so let me give you some basic information.
I was introduced to this food through my brother who was stationed there in 1969 by the Army. The US had a satellite tracking station there. He was there until 1972 when he returned stateside. His first wife was Ethiopian, and that’s when he was introduced to this cuisine that he still has such a love for.
The basis for almost all Ethiopian food is the bread which is a spongy like sourdough bread that looks very much like a pancake. All of the vegetables and or meat is served on top of a piece of this bread called injera. You don’t use forks and spoons, but you tear a piece of the bread off to grasp a bite of food. It can be messy, but it’s so much fun to try the customs of another country.
Another must in Ethiopian food is the use of their spice blend called berbere. The berbere contains ground hot peppers along with a blend of spices which usually contains cardamon, fenugreek, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and up to total of twenty spices. The berbere has been compared to a blend of Indian curry with southwestern chili powder.
Something that most people don’t know is that Ethiopia is responsible for introducing the world to their favorite beverage of coffee. When I think of coffee, I think of South America, but Ethiopia is said to be the first. A traditional Ethiopian meal is often completed with a coffee ceremony.
My brother knows how much I also love this food, and one year for my birthday, he drove me all the way to Charlottesville, Virginia to have an Ethiopian meal. He had kept that part kind of secret, and said we were going to see the Walton home and museum. We did see that, but the restaurant had gone out of business. So much for believing what you find on the internet! He was so disappointed that his plans didn’t work out.
Two years later, he found out about the Gosh Ethiopian Restaurant in Knoxville. He took me there on my birthday in 2013. It was so good, and it brought back such good memories of his ex-wife. She was some kind of cook!
We have gone back there for two more of my birthdays, and thoroughly enjoyed our meals. On my last visit in October 2017, I ate something that I thought I’d never eat, collards. Even though I’m a Southern girl all the way thorough, I’ve never liked any kind of greens, but these were great! I’ve gotten a recipe off the internet, and plan on making them. They’re chopped up and not stringy or slimy. They’re cooked with some onions, garlic, and spices.
The Gosh Ethiopian Restaurant (pronounced like you’d say Goshen Valley) is located at 3609 Sutherland Avenue in Knoxville. It’s just off of Kingston Pike and very near the UT area.
On our last visit, we shared the combination platter for two which contained a beef kay wot (like a stew), doro tibs (boneless chicken beats sauteed with homemade sauce, onions, jalapenos, and garlic),kay wot (chopped beef simmered in hot and thick berbere sauce and other Ethiopian spices), kik alicha (a yellow split pea dish), misir wot (red lentils dish), and gomen (the collard greens cooked in a mild sauce with onions, garlic, and jalapenos). The only thing I didn’t like was the dor tibs The chicken was tough and rubbery. It tasted as though it was precooked, and heated up in a microwave. Everything else was top notch. This meal was accompanied by their delicious spiced tea. We had our iced, but it’s also available hot.
The small restaurant is owned by an Ethiopian couple, so you’re getting the real deal. The wife cooks while the husband waits on tables. They can help you choose the meal that’s right for you, and answer any questions about Ethiopia. They source many of the ingredients such as the teff flour (to make the injera with), and the berbere directly from Ethiopia. They will provide utensils if you don’t want to eat with your hands. There is a television in the dining area that is playing videos from Ethiopia which makes your meal even more interesting.
You can customize your order to suit your own taste. They will prepare your meal as hot or mild as you wish. I recommend you don’t go for super spicy, as it will set you on fire. I like it with some spice, but I don’t like to have steam coming out of my ears!
Ethiopian food is actually fairly popular across America, due in part to a famous Food Network chef, Marcus Samuelsson, who was born in Ethiopia, but left there as a child and was adopted by Swedish parents. He was raised in Sweden, but has a great passion for Ethiopian food. There was a special on his return to Ethiopia. Also Andrew Zimmern filmed an episode of Bizarre Foods there.
If you’re in Knoxville and want to try something different than you’ve ever had before, give them a try. They are open on Wednesday-Thursday from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM, and on Friday they are open from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM. On Saturday they are open from 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM. They are closed from Sunday through Tuesday. Their phone number is 865-544-4475. You can look them up on Google and see their menu.
Hope you enjoy! If you have a favorite restaurant which you’d like to see reviewed, send me the information, and if possible, I’ll give it a try.