Monday, August 30, 2010

I Love Footscray

Some of the goodies I bought
I indulged in one of my favourite past times this morning - browsing through the groceries in Footscray.  I reckon Footscray sometimes gets a bad rap.  I love Footscray.  In Footscray you can buy all sorts of Asian, Indian and African food.  And it's cheap and you can buy in bulk.  I hunted out the Ethiopian bakery where you can buy injera - delicious flat bread that you use to mop up stews.  My kids will eat all sorts of vegetables when it's served with injera.  I also bought black sesame seeds and brown rice flour and will have a go at making some sesame seed crackers.  After reading an older blog from moo I made it I was reminded that you can also buy mangosteen in Footscray.  Mangosteen is the yummiest fruit I've ever tasted and there's lots of it at Little Saigon market.
The mangosteen I ate with Eldest Monkey after school

So for tonight's dinner I have made an Ethiopian inspired lentil veggie stew with silverbeet from the garden.  Littlest Monkey Boy was most unimpressed on riding home from kinder when I told him I was making a lentil stew with veggies.  He had a little hissy fit and informed me that he "would not eat the vegetables!"  He said "I will throw the vegetables at your face!"  Hmmm charming!  

I adapted a couple of recipes from Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann (this is my current favourite recipe book).  You don't have to use the Niter Kebbeh but if you have the time it does make the stew delicious.

Niter Kebbeh (Spice-Infused Oil)
1.5 cups canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped into large pieces
6 garlic cloves
6 slices fresh ginger
3/4 tsp tumeric
6 cardamom pods, crushed
3 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
pinch of nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to very low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Let the oil sit for another 20 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.  Strain oil through a fine mesh sieve and store in the fridge.

Lentil & Veggie Stew
1/2 cup Niter Kebbeh
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1/4 tsp tumeric
3 cups mixed vegetables (whatever's growing  - I used potato, carrot, silverbeet, broccoli and sweet potato)
5 cups water
pinch of cayenne pepper and salt to taste

In a large saucepan, combine the lentils with 5 cups water and sprinkle with the tumeric.  Bring to a boil and lower the heat.  Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally until the lentils are well cooked (about 20 minutes). 

Meanwhile in another large saucepan, heat the Niter Kebbeh, add the onion and saute over low heat until soft.  Add the garlic and cook until soft.  Add vegetables.  Cook until all the vegetables are tender (about 25 minutes).  Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

When the lentils are cooked, drain and add them to the vegetable mixture.  Stir to combine.   Serve with injera bread.

Like all stews, this tastes great the following day.  My eldest monkey also loves it cold in sandwiches for his school lunch.

Injera from: Mesnoy Injera Bakery
77 Irving St, Footscray


  1. I loved your comment from your youngest. Exactly what my little one would say!

    I keep meaning to get to Footscray. Am now really motivated!

  2. Hooray! Isn't rummaging in Footscray grocery stores fun? FYI, Mesnoy and many of the other Ethiopian bakeries sell niter kibbeh (not vegan though) and berbere, the red spice mix you can use to make great, easy dal (aka misir wat). Mesnoy's blend is not too hot either, good for little monkeys.

  3. I've not tried berbere before - I'll have to try thanks.


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