100 Favorites Dishes: No. 31, Fasika's zilzil tibs
As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2014, coming April 16, the Hot Dish is serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes.
In a metro area with a thriving pan-African food scene, Fasika is the restaurant to beat for Ethiopian cuisine, and if you need proof, look no further than the zilzil tibs. For the uninitiated, in Ethiopian cuisine the majority of dishes are served with a delicious, porous teff flour bread known as injera or enjera, which diners use in lieu of silverware to scoop up the main dish. And there is nothing finer to scoop up with a nice piece of injera than this delicious beef dish that bears some resemblance to Mexican fajitas.
Fasika - Best Ethiopian Restaurant 2012
Presented tableside on a skillet, the zilzil tibs at Fasika is then moved to a large platter containing a bed of injera bread and a lightly dressed iceberg salad. The fragrant beef is spiced with garlic, rosemary, and chili powder and served alongside sliced onions, chunks of red bell peppers, and thinly sliced hot peppers. Accompanying the dish is a medium-heat cayenne-based hot sauce with a dollop of nostril-clearing horseradish mustard dropped in the center.
(Pro-Tip: Taking a healthy dollop of the sauce onto the bread every couple of bites keeps the rest of the spices interesting and amplifies the more subtle smoky heat coming off of the zilzil tibs themselves, but using the hot sauce every time can result in a heat overload and dull the taste of the meat.)
The dish brings together some of the fun of a fajita meal with a set of spices from a completely different cuisine. It is also a unique treat to dig into such a hearty dish with your hands. Once you taste the delicious porous bread wrapped around some zilzil tibs you'll wonder why you ever use a fork.
No. 43: Grand Café's fondue
No. 42: Saffron's Heart Beets
No. 41: Chatterbox's pork and waffles
No. 39: Broders' quadrucci con pollo