How did I not know about this??
I immediately asked Seth about his memories of tea and bread and he said that he remembered it being served occasionally in the orphanage and in our agency's transition house.
That same day, I started looking up recipes for both shai (Ethiopian spiced tea...pronounced 'shy') and dabo (Ethiopian bread). I found both.
So, although we don't usually have a mid-morning snack, yesterday morning we did: Shai and dabo.
It was delicious!!
The bread was heavy and very dense and slightly sweet tasting from the addition of 1/2 cup of honey in the dough. Mmmm.
And the tea...oh the tea...it was wonderful, hot and sweet out of the pot! Although I'm a big fan of chai tea, shai beat it hands down, in my opinion, though the ingredients are similar. Both are flavoured with raw cardamom pods and whole cloves and cinnamon sticks...but shai doesn't have any of the peppery-ness that chai often has (because chai is usually brewed with whole peppercorns).
The best part of the whole experience??
Well, two things actually.
First, I got a bunch of extra cuddles and snuggles from Seth throughout the morning as we waited for the bread to rise twice and eventually go into the oven. He eats Ethiopian food regularly, but there was clearly something special about this for him.
Second, the look on Seth's face when he dunked his first bite of dabo into his shai was, well, glorious! He immediately gasped and said that the tea tasted very familiar, so I'm thinking that I must have gotten the flavours right because it's been over two years since he drank it last and it obviously resonated with him. His smile was beatific! And, a bread boy to the end, he adored that thick honey bread and ate piece after piece until he could barely sit up straight from being so stuffed. Lizzie and Matthew also loved our tea time, but really it was Seth's face and reaction that made my day.
Although I won't always have time to make the bread, we decided as a little group that we will aim to enjoy a cup or two of shai at least once a week...maybe on Fridays after the work of the week is done, or maybe on Saturday mornings so that Geoff can join us.
We all spoiled our appetites for lunch yesterday, but frankly who cares...there are times, apparently, when we just need to tank on Ethiopian honey dabo and shai!
The shai started out rather pale in colour, but near the end of the simmer time, it had darkened into something almost caramel-like.
I just wish I could have captured their sheer delight!