On the Pass: Fatuma Tikuye, Blue Nile

Author: Laksha Prasad
Photography: Ben Hansen

What's Blue Nile all about, Fatuma?

The food is pan-African, although more heavily influenced by Ethiopian and Sudanese flavours. We keep the menu seasonal, so towards winter we do spicier dishes for people to share, like our yetakelt beainetu - a combination of Ethiopian vegetarian dishes served with house-made injera bread.

How do you guys do breakfast?

The Blacktown locals can't get enough of our Sudanese-style ful, which is spicy broad beans with eggs and peppers, and the enqulal firfir (aka scrambled eggs) that I do with Spanish onion, garlic, green chilli and niter kibbeh, a spiced clarified butter.

Any personal favourites?

Genfo - a simple porridge made from flour and hot water, with cassava bread topped with melted kibbeh in the middle of the bowl.

Get the recipe for Blue Nile's Ethiopian eggplant dip

Where do you find Ethiopian ingredients in Australia?

I like to roast and blend my own spices, especially for the kibbeh, which takes four days to make. We use a lot of black pepper, cumin, cloves and garlic, but Ethiopian spices like koroset and kororima are harder to find. My mum travels to Melbourne - there's a large Ethiopian community there - to find them.

Tell us about Blue Nile's traditional coffee ritual.

Coffee brings people together in the Ethiopian community. The ritual is performed over three hours and involves the coffee being husked, roasted and brewed to three strengths - from strongest to weakest. Its customarily served in age order, with a flatbread called himbasha or popcorn to snack on. We do a version of it for customers at the restaurant and use real Ethiopian coffee beans served in Moroccan teapots - just like we do in my village.

Blue Nile, 3/115 Main St, Blacktown, NSW, bluenilecuisine.com.au







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