Ethiopian Jews are descendants of the ancient Israelites and are called “Beta Israel” (the house of Israel). They have lived in Ethiopia separated from other Jewish communities in the world for decades, but still maintaining old Jewish traditions from the days of the First Temple (Solomon’s Temple). While they were forced to leave Ethiopia in the 1980’s due to hostile political circumstances, Israel brought them home to the Jewish land with two large scale operations: Moses and Solomon. Since then, Ethiopian Israelis have been an integral part of the Israeli society, and they hold places as esteemed musicians, Start-Up nation entrepreneurs, higher education students, IDF soldiers, popular singers, a beauty queen and much more.
Ethiopian Jews bring old charm to modern day Jewish culture, with traditions and foods long forgotten. It is enchanting! So, to share some of this with you, we found a simple bread recipe that is made as part of a celebration called Gdeft, which ends the Passover holiday where only matzot are eaten (unleavened bread) for seven days. There is a huge feast, the Gdeft, where Engotcha is served dipped in honey, and where the stickiness of the honey represents the closeness of family and the sweetness of life.
2 level cups of wheat flour
1 packet of yeast
3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
1. Soak the yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water for 15 minutes.
2. Mix the egg with 1/2 cup water, then pour the mixture into the flour.
3. Mix well. At this point, the dough will be thick and clumpy.
4. Add the yeast mixture, moisten hands, and knead the dough well.
5. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise for an hour.
6. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
7. Roll out the dough when it has risen and form medium-sized pancakes (see photo above of engotcha). This much dough should make about five engotcha.
8. Arrange the patties on a greased baking pan and place in oven for about 30 minutes until golden.
Remember that you must serve the engotcha with honey for dipping!
If you try this, please let us know and send us a picture of you and your family trying this Ethiopian recipe!