10 dead, 1200 sick: Praise the lord and pass the guacamole: Holy water blamed for Ethiopia cholera outbreak

Faith-based food safety just doesn’t cut it.

According to Ooska News, a cholera outbreak in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has reportedly been blamed on holy water, after at least 10 people died over the past two weeks, while more than 1 200 people have contracted the disease. The authorities have also identified contaminated holy water in some of the region’s monasteries as being behind the outbreak. It was believed that the water is being taken from rivers that carry the disease.

Interfering in religious affairs is a very sensitive matter in the region, but the local government is working with religious leaders to temporarily stop the use of holy water.

A good idea? Ethiopian raw beef dish if you’re low on iron

When Ethiopians need an iron health boost, they don’t turn to supplements – they eat kitfo, a traditional dish that consists of marinated minced raw beef and is usually eaten with a sourdough-risen flatbread called injera, says Bebeta Asfaw.

kitfo.Ethiopian_foodMs Asfaw, who owns and operates Cafe Abyssinia in Mt Roskill, said kitfo was also somewhat like “a happy meal” in Ethiopia.

“It’s something we eat at every celebration and festival, from birthdays, weddings and many family events,” said Ms Asfaw.

She said the dish was considered to be healthy because both the beef and flatbread had a high iron content.

Lincoln Tan of The New Zealand Herald writes that teff, a valued iron-rich grain, is mixed with water and left to ferment for several days to make injera.

Ms Asfaw said injera was the staple bread for Ethiopians, much like roti is in India.

“We will always make our children eat kitfo because we think the beef is good for them and will make them strong and give lots of energy,” she said.

At her cafe, Ms Asfaw serves kitfo either completely raw or slightly cooked with injera on the side.

To eat kitfo, spoonfuls of raw beef can be placed into a piece of injera or you can use your fingers to tear off bits of the flatbread and dig into the beef.

Ms Asfaw said injera could also be replaced with standard sliced bread.

Kitfo

Ingredients

1kg topside beef (freshly cut)

6 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper (mitmita*)

4 tablespoons clarified butter (nitir kebe*)

1 teaspoon cardamom powder (korerima*)

salt and black pepper

* You will find these spices in Ethiopian or Indian shops/groceries

Method

1. Cut the beef into small pieces and remove fat

2. Hand mince meat, marinate with mitmita and place the spicy ground meat in a dish

3. Melt the butter in a small pot on low heat, add the remaining mitmita, cardamom powder, (salt and black pepper to taste); remove from heat

4. Combine the spicy ground meat with the spicy butter; mix until completely marinated

5. Serve it immediately in a dish with injera or bread