Called a messob platter, it has a sitting down at a traditional low table, with all eating from the same large steel platter, at Abyssinian Ethiopian Restaurant in Alwarpet, central Chennai, India.

By Raul Dias (The Hindu) |

I’ve always believed that Chennai is a great food city for the experimental diner and this fact has been proven to me time and again. And that super muggy April afternoon was no different, as I sat down to a traditional Ethiopian meal at Abyssinian, the eight-month-old Ethiopian cuisine restaurant in Alwarpet.

Having eaten Ethiopian food—in Liverpool, the U.K., of all places during my student days there—I had a fair understanding of what was in store for me and my rather clueless friends. Called a messob platter, the main meal is meant for four people. And this is had sitting down at a traditional low table, with all eating from the same large steel platter.

Onto this, a soft, spongy neer dosa meets appam-like bread called injera (which can be made from an indigenous Ethiopian grass called teff, rice and in our case ragi or finger millet) is first placed as a lining (and more rolls on the side) onto which each diner gets their own daub of yummy dishes.

And thus began a procession of delectable offerings like yebeg bozena shiro, a delicious mutton and chickpea powder-based dish, slow-cooked with Ethiopia’s popular—and spicy—red berbere sauce. Misir wot, a divine (and beautifully colored) combination of split red lentils simmered in spicy berbere sauce was next. The simple, yet flavorful fasolia followed, which is a dish of string beans, sautéed with carrots and caramelized onions.

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