A Bellingham Foodie Blog Restaurant Reviews Bellingham Washington 98225

September 21, 2009

Ethiopian Cuisine with Mulu Belay

Filed under: Bellingham local,local,Pacific Northwest — Bellinghamster @ 4:33 pm

I thrive on diversity. It is a part of my youth growing up in NYC with immigrant parents. And that diversity has always included food. First introduced to Central European cuisine courtesy of my mother, to evolve and include others as the face of the neighborhood did. Northern European, then Central and Eastern European, followed by Asian and Indian and Island cultures. You name it, you could find it to eat in Queens (NY).

So, given the opportunity to be WITH Mulu Belay in the kitchen for a cooking class is heaven. Immersion at its best. Mulu gave her first cooking class last night at the Community Food Co-op Cordata kitchen and I got to help. Privilege. It was a team effort with Mulu at its core. Her husband was enthusiastic and her daughter was confident. I happily washed dishes and ate!

The class was packed, patient and well fed. Mulu demonstrated how to make injera (Ethiopian bread), sauteed carrots and potatoes with Ethiopian spices, chicken legs and hard boiled eggs in a spiced stew and red lentils. The dishes all had some combination of garlic, onions, ginger. Spices were peppery combinations of cardamom, black nigella (black caraway seed), paprika and salt. There were 2 highlights:  getting to make injera and EATING!

What I learned:

Injera looks like a huge crepe, slightly spongy. You use starter/yeast bacteria (don’t say yuck if you’ve ever eaten sourdough bread) and  rice, barley & teff flour. It takes 2 days for the starter mixture to ferment before it can be cooked. Mulu heats 4 electric pans at the same time to make enough for the day at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market! She brought one to class and we took turns.

Chicken parts are skinned (to allow the flavors to be absorbed by the meat vs the skin). Then wash in a bowl of salted cold water, add the juice of 1 large lemon and soak for 30 minutes, then rinse. Somehow I just know this must be the right way to prep the chicken for the stew. In Ethiopia meat is a luxury so it is generally only eaten on Holidays or if you have guests.

The class declared that she must open a restaurant and I wholeheartedly agreed. She said she would need all our help!

Mulu and her family are a true delight and I cannot wait to see them again on Saturday! Her lentils are my favorite.

Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine @ Bellingham Farmer’s Market until Oct 3rd

Mulunesh Belay   360-756-1627 or mulubelay@yahoo.com


  1. Wow! I googled the Fork at Agate Bay and came across your site. BUT, I was excited to see your post on this because I was at this class too! I thought it was great. Good eats to you!

    Comment by Cutzi — October 1, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

  2. i wish she had her own restaurant! Her food is amazing.

    Comment by CM — October 26, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

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