African Cookbook Giveaway & Chickpea Stew Recipe




With the cool months on the way there is nothing better than a hearty soup or stew.

This exotic vegetarian stew recipe comes from Tekebash and Saba – Recipes from the Horn of Africa by Saba Alemayoh (Murdoch Books).  It is a colourful celebration of the food of Ethiopia’s northernmost state Tigray, but also tells the compelling story of author Saba and her mother Tekebash Gebre. They came to Australia as refugees and have nurtured a connection to their beloved homeland through shared recipes and rituals. (If you’d to win like a copy of this fine book, enter our easy contest, details below). We are glad they did and this colourful book is a must for the kitchen library.


Saba and her mother Tekebash


Certain ingredients are simply the superstars of Tigray cooking and chickpea is one of these. Abesh is less spicy than its Shiro counterpart and is the baked beans equivalent for farmsteads. Homes usually have dried chickpeas, and women simply grind them by hand and get cooking. Shiro requires them to have already spiced the chickpea flour beforehand.


Serves 4


123cups (200 g) chickpea flour (besan)

1 small onion, finely diced

5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup (250 ml) hot water
salt, to taste

sunflower oil, for cooking

Injera(see below) or toasted bread and

fresh green chillies, to serve



In a food processor, combine the chickpea flour with 3 cups (750 ml) water, then blend. The mixture should reach a milkshake-like consistency. Set aside.

Sauté the onion, with just enough sunflower oil to keep it from sticking, in a saucepan over medium heat until translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chickpea flour mixture to the pot and use a whisk to mix.

Add the hot water and keep whisking. It will get thicker as you keep cooking. It should be the consistency of a thickshake by the end. Add salt to taste. This should take approximately 7 minutes.

Leave it over medium heat to bubble for 30 minutes. Cover the pot to avoid a mess!

Serve with injera (see recipe below) or toasted bread with a side of fresh green chillies. Alternatively, you can simply enjoy it like a soup.


INJERA (Fermented Flatbread)

Makes 12

You’ll need to start this recipe two days ahead, but most of that time you’re just letting the fermentation happen. You will need woven mats for the injera to cool down on. These are usually available in Asian and African general purpose stores.

1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) teff flour

1 teaspoon dry yeast

1.5 litres (52 fl oz) lukewarm water (you may not end up using it all)


Stir the teff flour and dry yeast together – we traditionally do this by hand, but a stand mixer can also be used. Gradually add the water, taking breaks to knead the dough. Be careful you don’t add too much water – it should be smooth and slightly sticky (like playdough), but not wet. Leave the mixture in an airtight container overnight in a warm place. Your kitchen bench or pantry will suffice.

The next day, add enough water to thin out the mixture to a pancake batter consistency. Cover and let it sit overnight again.

When you open it, a sour smell may be omitted and there may potentially be a dark layer that looks like mould. This will be aerobic yeast. Discard the top layer of liquid. You will be left with a thick dough.

Bring 1 cup (250 ml) water to the boil in a small saucepan. Scoop ½ cup of the dough and stir it into the boiling water using a whisk. Ensure it’s mixed really well. It will have the consistency of a thickshake.

Add this batter to the rest of the dough and ensure you mix well. The batter’s consistency should be between a pancake and crepe batter. Add more lukewarm water if you need it. This process ensures that the injera is soft. Cover and let it sit for 2 hours.

Place a non-stick frying pan (that has a lid) over medium heat and use a small jug (or ladle) to pour the mixture all around the pan. You want to make it thicker than a crepe but not as thick as a pancake. Leave it uncovered until half of the injera has tiny holes, then cover the pan with the lid for 5–10 seconds to steam-cook the top.



Starfish readers, to win your copy of Tekebash and Saba – Recipes from the Horn of Africa by Saba Alemayoh (Murdoch Books) just drop us a line (  telling us why you’d like the book. Please remember to include your postal address. Good luck!