Tekebash and Saba is not just a cookbook. It is a memoir, an archive of family history (and Ethiopian history) and a legacy of Tekebash Gebre, author and restaurant owner Saba Alemayoh’s mother.
Tekebash was born in Tigray, Ethiopia, under the rule of the last Ethiopian emperor. She lived under the communist regime before fleeing to Sudan and eventually making her way to Australia. Along the way she met and married Saba’s father and gave birth to Saba who would go on to open an Ethiopian restaurant in Melbourne, Australia.
Like many cultures, food tells a story of local ingredients, flavors and occasions. Her cookbook, Tekebash and Saba is their story told through food. Weaving in personal anecdotes from both her mother and herself, Saba shares the rich culture of Tigray through the food they eat. Each story connects to a recipe. Recipes, which are a true reflection of the Tigrayan dining experience: no starts, mains or desserts, just dishes that are shared as part of a communal banquet for all to share.
Ingredients that come up time and time again include Teff (used to make injera), chickpea flour (used to make vegan scrambled eggs), legumes like lentils and yellow split peas, chilis and tomato. The recipes are largely vegan and gluten free, although there are some that include beef and poultry and one or two that include flour. They are simple, requiring only a few ingredients but flavored with spices.
It’s a cookbook that anyone with a connection to Ethiopia would love, but also one that is great for vegans, vegetarians and those who want to explore the flavors and dishes of Tigray.
I’ve chosen to share her recipe for vegan scrambled egg. It’s made using chickpea flour and while it resembles scrambled eggs in looks and texture, it has that distinctly strong chickpea flavor. It is delicious served on some toast as a breakfast or lunch.
Vegan scrambled eggs
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ red onion diced
- oil for cooking
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1 small red chilli finely diced (optional)
- toasted bread to serve
- Put the chickpea flour and salt in a for processor with 1/2 cup water and blend until combined well.
- Transfer to a non-stick saucepan and bring the mixture to the boil while stirring. Reduce the heat and keep stirring using a wooden spoon, creating a play dough-like consistency but in larger chunks. The mixture does stick so keep stirring.
- Sauté the onion in oil in a frying pan until translucent, then add garlic and pepper and fry until soft.
- Add the chickpea mixture to the pan and stir thoroughly. Add red chilli, if using, and mix thoroughly. Serve warm with toasted bread.