Here's What A Common Breakfast Looks Like In Ethiopia

It's always fascinating to see how other places around the world greet the day with their first meal. In Ethiopia, breakfast is called qurs in the country's native tongue of Amharic (per CNN), and is eaten in a variety of ways just like you'd see different breakfast choices in America. However, if you're looking for an authentic taste of one of its most popular breakfast dishes, genfo (known to locals as ga'at), you might be in for a struggle. According to Eater, Ethiopian restaurants typically only serve lunch and dinner, so it's rare to find genfo for this reason, but this could also be because of the meal's "time-intensive cooking process, which cannot be done ahead of time." Apparently it requires a lot of physical strength to even mix the ingredients required to create this thick, flavor-infused iconic Ethiopian food.

Genfo can be eaten messily with your hands, using a fork, or surrounded by spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Besides providing a filling meal to start one's day, in Ethiopia, it's common for new mothers to consume genfo after giving birth in order to regain strength and promote good postpartum health, according to Mothers-for-Mothers. So what exactly is genfo and how is it prepared traditionally?

Genfo is a thick, spiced breakfast porridge

When we think about porridge, it's usually prepared at the perfect consistency to go down smooth and still have some texture to it. Genfo, on the other hand, is an ultra-thick Ethiopian porridge made by stirring together water with either barley or wheat flour until smooth (per Ethiopian Food Mesob Across America). Once the flour has been sufficiently mixed, the genfo is placed on a dish and a hole is formed in the middle to hold various spices to dip into the porridge (via Taste Atlas). It's used to contain a combination of clarified butter and the country's most popular spice, berbere, which is a zesty blend of dried red chilis and up to 20 other spices. Berebere is a key ingredient referred to by Demand Africa as the "flavor backbone of Ethiopian cooking."

It's a fairly simple process if you want to take a crack at making it yourself (via YouTube), though you should be prepared for quite the arm workout at the end of your genfo-making session. It'll be worth it though! You'll know you're tasting something truly unique once you savor that first bite of creamy yogurt melded with the bold flavors of the spice-dipped porridge — just one reason why Americans should try Ethiopian food.