Rice bowls are more accessible and easier to grab-and-go than the spongy injera bread that typically accompanies an Ethiopian meal, Chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes says.
Chef Hiyaw Gebreyohannes grew up in his mom’s traditional Ethiopian restaurant, first in Toronto, then Michigan. But in recent years, he’s been trying to find new ways to make the cuisine hipper and more approachable in order to “put it on the American dinner table.”
In New York, he launched Taste of Ethiopia, a line of microwavable Ethiopian meals available in Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh. And now, he’s moved to DC, where he’ll open Gorsha Ethiopian Eatery, a fast-casual stall in Union Market.
If you’re familiar with Ethiopian food, you’ll recognize the flavors but not necessarily all of the ingredients and preparations. For starters, Gorsha is offering basmati rice bowls, even though rice isn’t a staple of the Ethiopian diet. As Hiyaw explains, rice bowls are more accessible and easier to grab-and-go than the spongy injera bread that typically accompanies an Ethiopian meal. That said, the dishes will still come with some injera and optional baked injera crisps. Beyond the bowls, Hiyaw is also offering “injera pockets,” or as he calls them, “Ethiopian tacos.”
Customers can choose from three proteins and five types of vegetables. Riffing off of kifto, a chopped raw beef dish mixed with spiced butter, Hiyaw prepares raw yellowfin tuna marinated in Ethiopian spices and olive oil. And rather than offering doro wat, a popular chicken stew, he simply sautés the chicken in berbere.