World Cooking – Djibouti

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Djibouti
Progress: 73/193

Looking at the map of Africa, I noticed that there were two large gaps where I have yet to make a post for. Exit time around, I will be looking to make something from the north-west corner, but for now I wanted to make something from the Horn of Africa. So, somewhat scientifically, I went for the country with the most entertaining name.

Djibouti is a small coastal nation separated from the Middle East by a narrow sea channel. Thanks to its position on the shipping lanes between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, Djibouti is an important maritime port and makes a fair bit as a supply line to neighbouring Ethiopia. Being so close to the Middle East, and due to their colonial French past, the cuisine of Djibouti is an interesting mix of spice palettes. For the sake of today’s post I focused on finding dishes where you can see how Djibouti acts as the crossroads of Ethiopia and the Middle East.

Main and Side: Skoudehkaris and Laxoox 

Okay, so I didn’t have a great picture of these dishes on their own so I guess I’ll be talking about them together. First is the Skoudehkaris (recipe here by Global Table Adventure), which is apparently the national dish of Djibouti. It is a warming lamb stew with spices like clove, cinnamon and cardamom. It made the kitchen smell a lot like I was making lamb rogan josh, which would make sense as it shares a lot of the same ingredients with the exception of a final swirl of yogurt before serving. It’s delicious,but not the star of this plate.

That would be the laxoox (again, recipe from Global Table Adventure). I really want to get as much practice in before tackling Ethiopian injera, so I figured that these fermented flatbreads would be a good place to start. Also, it means I can use some of that millet flour I still have sitting in the cupboard which has totally not gone past its sell by date… yea.

In any event, I like to think that the sell by date thing helped with the fermentation process. It helped make for a dry bubbly batter which resulted in a very holey pancake. Considering just how sticky the batter is, I am glad that I bought a special new non-stick crepe pan – otherwise I would have been scrubbing until doomsday. Together with the lamb stew, these little hole-filled flatbreads were gorgeous.

So next time I am, again, putting off Asia and moving straight to the Americas. It’s been a while since I last cooked something from South America so I am really looking forward to seeing what I end up making. I think I’m going to continue with the idea of making a main and a side, mainly because I have a dessert coming up I am super looking forward to and I figured it would be good to get some savouries in.

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