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What Is Kitcha?

Flour made from wheat is used to make kitcha.
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  • Written By: Rachael Cullins
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2014
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Kitcha is an Ethopian flatbread that is characterized by its chewy texture and simple preparation. The bread is unleavened and resembles a pancake more than bread. Kitcha is a popular accompaniment to several traditional Ethopian dishes, including the breakfast dish fit-fit.

This particular type of bread is unleavened, meaning it contains no yeast and is not given time to rise. The concept of leavened as opposed to unleavened bread often has religious associations. Unleavened bread is referred to numerous times in the Bible. In Ethopian culture, the preparation process for kitcha may simply be a matter of taste preference or convenience instead of being associated with a particular religious practice.

Kitcha is prepared using only wheat flour, water and salt. The ingredients are mixed together and then baked in a pan, creating a spongy, pancake-like bread. The bread is most often served as an ingredient in fit-fit, an Ethopian breakfast dish. Fit-fit consists of pieces of kitcha, spices and clarified butter that are combined into a mush-like consistency. It is sometimes accompanied by yogurt or hot peppers and is eaten with a utensil, unlike most Ethiopian foods which are simply eaten with the hands.

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Although kitcha is well-known in Ethiopian cuisine, it is not as popular as injera, another type of bread that comes from the region. Injera is made with flour from teff, a regional grain, and is served with most Ethiopian dinners. It is very spongy, flexible, and porous and is baked in a large, circular form. Dinner is served directly on the injera and the bread is used as a utensil for eating the food, with its unusual texture, allowing easy consumption of the dish.

Kitcha is one of the many foods that comprise flavorful Ethiopian cuisine. Dishes are often spicy and come in the form of stews or sauce-covered meats. Serving whole hard-boiled eggs in the middle of a dinner stew is popular in Ethiopia. Meals are served family-style with several different concoctions dished onto a single large piece of injera bread. The appeal of Ethiopian food has extended beyond just that country, and Ethiopian restaurants have gained popularity in many Western nations.

Some slang meanings are associated with the word "kitcha." Few of these have anything to do with the actual definition of the word. Some use it to mean anything that is cool or desirable. This is rather uncommon, however, and the word is mostly used to refer to Ethopian bread.

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