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Kifto is for those self-described as true meat lovers. Why? Because it is chopped raw beef, much in the style of steak tartar. The major difference in the two dishes is probably the Ethiopian spicing that is added to kifto. (Please check out a bit more information on steak tartar and Public Kitchen | Bar.)
In many restaurants in Ethiopia (as it is with steak tartar), the dish is prepared either raw or partially cooked. The spice blend that might be used is known as mitmita, while a clarified butter condiment called niter kibbeh might be added.
In Kitchener especially, we are lucky to have several good Ethiopian restaurants including East Africa Cafe (EAC), located on Ontario Street between King and Charles streets. Their kifto is described as lean beefsteak tartar seasoned with spices and a hot blend of dried ground chili peppers blended with garlic, which is served with cooling cottage cheese.
A couple of other great elements to EAC is that alcohol is served — they recently had a sold-out beer-and-food pairing dinner, in fact — and there are lots of vegetarian and vegan dishes for those who don’t want to eat “in the raw.”[Kifto image/East Africa Cafe]