Yesterday morning I tried a new dish in Hargeisa, for the first time in a long while. As my colleagues sat in the office dining room, ready to tuck into a ruby-colored plate — a second breakfast, naturally — I asked them to hold off, yar sug!, while I ran for my camera.
After I climbed atop a chair to snap a few images, they generously offered to
placate their awkward coworker share, and we squeezed fresh lime juice over the dish and dipped torn pieces of baguette into the thick mixture, interspersing spicy bites with steaming sips of sweet Somali tea.
My fellow diners called the dish waddi, and they said it was Ethiopian, a cuisine commonly borrowed in Somaliland. I dug around the kitchen, where chef supreme Xukun showed me the bag of coral-colored flour, and said she added onion, a bit of garlic, some hot pepper, and water – khalas!
Later on, the Ethiopian housekeeper looked at a few of the photos I’d taken and identified the dish as shiro, a chickpea flour-thickened stew, with an assortment of important spices.
We dipped, we sipped, we talked (American) politics. Qurac wanagsan, happy breakfast!