Yetenet’tere zeyt is an Ethiopian spiced oil. The recipe calls for olive oil, but I accidentally used vegetable oil the first time I made it. The olive oil definitely makes for a better end product, but any type seems to work. I used it to make my favourite lentil soup*, but it’s great as a marinade base for meats, a dressing for mixed vegetables, or the beginnings of a salad dressing. Add some of your favourite spices if you want, such as red pepper flakes or a bit more garlic.
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped onion
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon chopped ginger root
2 cups water
2 cups olive oil
mortar and pestle (or something else you can use for mashing)
sieve or cheesecloth for straining
glass jar with tightly-closing lid
Mash garlic and ginger into a paste. You can choose to leave it a bit thicker, but the flavour will not be as strong.
Heat water and oil in saucepan on medium heat. Stir in garlic, ginger, onion, and basil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until all the water evaporates. (A tip from me: the oil will be sitting on top of the water. If you smell the oil beginning to cook, the water has evaporated. If you are paying close attention, a little bit of cooking the oil won’t hurt it.)
Allow the oil to cool. Strain the oil with the sieve/cheesecloth into a glass jar. Close tightly, adding a piece of plastic wrap inside to seal more tightly, if necessary. Store in the refrigerator.