During my recent visit to DC I spent some time on U Street, and inevitably the neighborhood full of Ethiopian businesses made me think of my Chicken Suqaar moment in Portland, OR. NE Portland has some of the best East African food I’ve had. This of course being neck and neck with U Street & Adams Morgan in DC, Fairfax in LA, and various pockets of Charlotte and Minneapolis, but still.. I visited a restaurant on Ethiopian Row on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in Portland and was beyond pleased. The food smelled authentic, the English was minimal, and I felt like at that moment I had arrived in international culinary bliss. The food was excellent and felt at home with the family-run and inviting vibe. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of this restaurant, nor do they have a website unfortunately. However I can tell you that whoever took over Safari’s or Horn of Africa on MLK was responsible for this amazing Somali style Chicken Suqaar dish.
My recollection of this restaurant being where Safari’s used to be, will serve as a point of reference when I return, and will help to guide you if you’re ever in Portland in search of authentic East African food..
I was able to find a recipe with the closest ingredients to what was used at the anonymous restaurant on Ryan and Brianna’s Bon Appetit site. I will forewarn you though, this is not a boil the rice while you saute the chicken with your favorite two seasonings 15 min moment. Granted once you get the hang of it, I’m sure it won’t seem as rigorous. Let’s just say this dish is good for a ‘I refuse to leave the house’ weekend. Well that is if you actually have all of these ingredients in stock. If you do, that’s actually pretty impressive.. I know for a fact I don’t. The spice rack from Target that I acquired years ago hardly counts. Fresh spices are key. As of matter of fact I still have Marcus Samuelsson who knows a thing or two about Ethiopian cooking, to thank for the inspiration behind stepping up my spice game.
So anyway, here it is… The recipe for this wonderful Somalian dish.