10 February 2008

Altu's Ethiopian Cuisine in East Lansing

I had my first taste of Ethiopian food on Friday night. A friend and I shared the Veggie and Meat Feast. We chose the mild chicken stew, spicy meat stew, lentils, yellow peas, and collard greens. It also came with cabbage, green salad, and a bunch of bread. The spicy meat was pretty spicy; I could only eat a little of it and then preferred to cool my mouth down with the other stuff. The chicken stew was really good, but I definitely liked the sauce better than the chicken itself. The yellow peas were a little too earthy for me; I liked the lentils better. The collard greens and green salad, with their fresher (as in not/less stewed) were a good balance for the other stuff. The green salad has a very unique dressing on it, sort of smoky tasting. Everyone loved it.

I also tasted some lima beans my friends had ordered. I'm not a fan of lima beans so I didn't love these as much as they did.

It reminded me a lot of Indian food, with the spicy stews, hearty and plentiful vegetarian options, bread, and spicy tea. The bread reminded me a lot of dosai, which Kea and I used to eat about once a week at India Cafe (Honolulu) before their prices got a little out of our range. It was sponge-y and had a little sourdough taste. I think it was spongier than the dosai I've had.

The tea at Altu's was complimentary, which was awesome. Some of the folks I went with said it had cardamom in it. Some of them were mixing it with lemonade, but I wasn't persuaded. I can see mixing regular old black tea with lemonade, but I'm not sure about the spicy + lemonade.

Overall, it was definitely a good deal. I paid about $15+ tip for a hearty, (and I think) pretty healthy meal. I mean, I got vegetables and it felt like homecooking, not like greasy, heavy stuff.


At 3:53 PM , Blogger kristen said...

what is dosai? is that like naan or something? i like indian food, but sometimes i think i'm not adventurous enough to stray away from my usual orders. ethiopian sounds yummy, though.

At 5:56 PM , Blogger Robyn said...

naan is the one that's cooked in the tandoori? i think dosai is softer and more flexible. my friend told me it's from southern india. they make it like crepes i think, like spread the dough out on a big griddle.

At 12:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now there's one kind of cuisine which I think you can't get here in Hawaii! Although, if you could find it in Michigan, maybe I just haven't looked hard enough. Sounds intriguing and I never would've thought that it would be similar to Indian food.

At 1:58 PM , Blogger Robyn said...

yeah, i have no idea what is up with the similarities to indian food... maybe it is just in my head?

At 10:46 AM , Blogger Fumbling said...

totally sounds like Queen Sheba in Seattle. Soooo yummy and cheap


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