The Goat Tibs at the Zehabesha in Yellowknife was expertly spiced and cooked, and thoroughly enjoyable. It got an easy 5 out of 5 Rating.
I have not looked it up, but I am willing to bet that the Zehabesha restaurant in Yellowknife is the most northerly Ethiopian eatery on the continent (and possibly in the whole world). My visit there happened to be my very first encounter with Ethiopian cuisine and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As it happened, I had a great experience.
For my meal, I chose Tibs, which is described on the menu as “Spicy pulled beef or goat fried with onion, pepper, rosemary, Jalapeno and Ethiopian butter”. I opted for the goat and, despite the description, it was not ‘pulled’ meat, but rather good, meaty chunks of goat meat on the bone.
With this selection, you get a salad, and can choose either rice of Injera (an Ethiopian bread), and one of two spice condiments on the side. The spice condiments are Mitimita and Awazie, and while I would have liked to have tried both, only the Mitmita was available that day. I tried looking up ‘Awazie’ after the meal and drew a blank, so am wondering if it may just be a dialectical name for Berbere, which is also widely used in Ethiopian cuisine.
Anyway, I chose Injera over the rice and it was a great choice for sopping up the very nice sauce that smothered the tender meat. The salad was basically a simple mix of lettuce, tomato and cucumber in a light vinaigrette and it made a nice light accompaniment to the heavier meat dish.
This is the Injera. It is basically made from a sourdough bread composed of Teff (a grassy seed grown in Eritrea and Ethiopia), and Barley, which is risen before being cooked on a clay platter or griddle. It has a spongy texture and it is very filling, especially as the one I was served would have been a good foot or so in diameter when unfolded. The basic idea is to tear off pieces and use this to scoop up bits of the main meal, then sop up any sauce. I liked the flavor and the texture very much.
Here is the Mitimita. The menu does not exactly list the ingredients but describes it as containing ‘such spices as chili peppers, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, cumin, and ginger’. I think the blend they serve here would be great sprinkled on rice but I very much enjoyed dipping my meat filled bits of Injera into it just before popping it into my mouth. It was not especially hot, but rather sweetly aromatic and well-balanced.
It is a shame that I couldn’t have tried a few more dishes here, and it is unlikely that I will be in Yellowknife again, now that I have retired. This particular establishment was very nice and I thought the Goat Tibs at the Zehabesha to be one of the most interesting, and delicious, meals I had for a long time.