How Can I Identify Ingredients At the Ethiopian Market?

Good Questions

Q: I love browsing the Ethiopian grocery stores near my house but I often come away empty handed or with a random tub of lentils, dried beans, or a little berbere. All of them have bulk items in tubs with labels only in Amharic and the grocers don't know the translations into English.

I don't mind experimenting with things but it would be nice to know what I'm buying and what I'm missing. Is there a website or book where I can find pictures of ingredients? If there is one with lists of ingredients by region or specific type of ethnic cuisine that would be even better. — Sent by Kerry

Editor: Kerry, we don't know specifically of a book with a guide to Ethiopian or East African ingredients -- surely there is something like that out there though! This book looked interesting and perhaps helpful:

Exotic Ethiopian Cooking : Sociey, Culture, Hospitality, and Traditions

Also, check out Sarah Rae's great ideas for learning how to shop in unfamiliar ethnic markets. We would also suggest seeing if you can set up a market tour with an Ethiopian friend or acquaintance; that's really the best way to learn!

Readers, do you know of any good guides or resources for Ethiopian cooking?

Related: 5 Tips On Finding The Best Products At Ethnic Markets

(Image: Steenburgs Organic)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.