Ethiopian Inguday Tibs – Spicy Sautéed Mushrooms
Abiye Bisrat is the owner and executive chef of Enat Ethiopian Restaurant, in Alexandria, Virginia. Enat (meaning “Mother”) is one of our favorite places to find authentic Ethiopian food in the DC area. We never leave DC without being sure to enjoy one of their thoroughly satisfying plant-based meals. Abiye was kind enough to prepare our favorite dish for us, Inguday Tibs, which are delicious sautéed mushrooms.
I make a version of this dish at home, but Abiye’s version is something special. His secret? Blanch the mushrooms before sautéing to hold in the moisture and keep them plump. He also deglazes the pan with pinot noir and he uses the spice, mitmita rather than berbere. I always used the berbere spice blend in my recipe. While they are both scrumptious, Abiye’s Inguday Tibs are mouthwateringly delicious and well worth attempting to make yourself.
You may not be able to find Ethiopian spices in your local area. No problem! There are lots of great Ethiopian markets who sell their products online. One of my favorite online sources is Ethiopian Spices. They carry reliably fresh products. Many large cities such as Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. have thriving Ethiopian communities where you can find some Ethiopian markets where you can purchase supplies. If you find yourself in the Alexandria, VA area, there is a fantastic market on Picket street called Kare Baltema International Market. The owners, Samuel and Endelack Tesfaye are very helpful. Samuel speaks excellent English, and he understands how to use all of the ingredients in Ethiopian cuisine. You can visit their store at 503 S. Pickett Street, Alexandria, VA 22304.
Ethiopian Inguday Tibs – Sautéed Mushrooms
- 4-6 large portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch slices about 12 ounces
- 1 large onion, red or white cut into 1/4-inch julienne
- 1/2 - 3 tablespoons mitmita, an Ethiopian spice blend pronounced mit-meeta
- 1/2-3/4 cup pinot noir wine (one you would drink)
- 2-3 jalapeño peppers, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon korerima (ground black cardamom seeds)
- salt and pepper to taste (optional)
- In a four-quart saucepan half-filled with boiling water, submerge mushrooms for two to four minutes. The blanching time depends on how thick your mushrooms slices are. These are fairly thick, so they will take approximately four minutes. Set your timer for two minutes to check their progress.
- While the water is coming to a boil, have a large skillet or saucepan on another burner on high heat. I like a skillet for this job because the slanted sides are easy to work with. Be sure to use a skillet that is large enough to allow you to move the quantity of onion you have easily around the pan. Also, have a two-cup measuring cup of full of water on hand to use for sautéing the onions.
- When droplets of water sprinkled on the pan sizzle, it is time to add the onions. Allow them to sit for about 30 seconds or until the sear a little on the bottom. Stir and scrape up any brown residue on the surface of the pan.
- When the water has begun to boil, drop in the sliced mushrooms, pushing them under with a spoon, so they are submerged. Be sure to separate them so they will cook evenly. Set your timer for two minutes. Continue to push the mushrooms down into the water periodically to assure they cook evenly. You may do this in two batches if you like.
- Soon, the browned onion residue at the bottom of the pan will become difficult to scrape off. Push the onions to one side, and pour a tablespoon or two of water onto the browned surface. The sizzling water should release the caramelization that has formed on the bottom of the pan. Allow some, or most of the water to evaporate, then push the onions back onto their previous spot. This will pull the caramelization back onto the onions. By moving the onions back and forth across the pan, continue adding a little water to pull up the brown caramelized onion residue. Repeat this process until the onions are golden brown. Do not allow the onions nor the pan to scorch! Even a little scorching can ruin the flavor of the dish, and you will have to start over with a clean skillet and fresh onions.
- When the timer goes off after two minutes has elapsed, check your mushrooms. Continue periodically pushing the mushrooms down and turning them so that all parts have been submerged. Set the timer for another two minutes. They are ready to remove from the water when they have become flexible enough to bend without breaking.
- Stir the onions and cover with a lid. Allow to steam for a minute or so. Remove lid and push onions aside to reveal the golden caramelization on the floor of the pan. Add water to release it, all the while scrubbing it lose with your bamboo utensil or metal spoon. You may also use some of the onions themselves as “cloths” to rub the caramelization off the sides of the skillet. Cover and allow to steam for another minute.
- When the timer tells you that two minutes are over, check the mushrooms. They should be ready at this point. Remove them from the water and transfer them to a clean bowl.
- Set the mushroom water aside to use as a broth for another cooking project, such as French Onion Soup. If you don’t have a plan immediately in mind, strain the rich, dark liquid through a coffee filter or a cheesecloth placed into a strainer over a large pyrex bowl. Allow to cool and freeze for later use.
- Remove the lid from the onions and once again push them aside. Add water to pull up the caramelization, and repeat the process until all of the brown residues are pulled onto the onions. Replace lid and repeat.
- Continue to sauté the onions in the same manner as before: push to the side, add water and scrub up caramelization. Tilt the pan as needed to bathe the sides with water to pull off the onion residue. Cover, and repeat until all of the onions are soft, tender, and a rich, golden brown color.
- When the onions are caramelized, pour in about half of the red wine. Then stir in the mitmita. I like to fully incorporate this spice in with the wine, so I know that all the mushrooms and onions are coated with it.How much you use is a personal choice. Mitmita is a spicy blend that varies among different chefs and different spice companies. I like mine quite spicy. Inguday Tibs is typically a highly seasoned dish. But you are making this for you, so if you don’t care for peppery-hot food, reduce the amount of Mitmita you use.
If water has collected at the bottom of the bowl of mushrooms, drain it into the pot of mushroom water you have put to the side. We don’t want to add more liquid to the onion mixture other than the wine. Add a little more of the wine, fold in the jalapeños and the mushrooms until they are coated with the mixture. Pour in the remaining wine. Cover and steep for two or three minutes.
- Stir to make sure all of the mushrooms are coated with the wine/mitmita mixture, cover and continue steeping for another minute.
- Remove lid and stir in korerima (black cardamom) for another 30 seconds to a minute. If you are using salt* and pepper, stir them in at this time as well.
- Transfer onions, peppers, and mushrooms to a serving bowl leaving liquid in the pan.
- Turn heat to high, and use a silicone spatula along with the liquid in the pan to remove the flavorful remnants from the sides of the pan. Allow the mixture to boil gently to concentrate the wine a little, then drizzle over the tops of the mushrooms.
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Simply Songer Design Custom-Made Chopping Board with 8-inch Bowl