Interview with Yeshi Taye - Maker of Mamia's Ethiopian Sauce

17 January 2018

Mamia's is an Ethiopian cooking sauce that is made with love in Wellington, New Zealand. Yeshi Taye, owner and operator of Mamia's, was inspired to bring some of her Ethiopian culture to NZ supermarket shelves; and so Mamia's was born. The sauces come in mild, medium and hot; they're not organic, but they are vegan!




Your sauces come in mild, medium and hot - how hot is "hot"?

I think the label "hot" scares people off, also the sauce has such a vibrant red colour - it looks spicy. But it's really weird because when we did the Go Green Expo, we sold out of the hot one. I think people realise, once they try it, that it's not as spicy as they thought; it's not Indian hot. So whenever we do tastings we find that the hot one sells out, but straight off the shelf the mild one is much more popular.


What are the main ingredients in the sauce?

It's very simple flavours - we use 20 kg of red onions in each pot. The other flavours that stand out for me are the New Zealand grown garlic that we use, and of course the chilli.


What was your inspiration behind starting the business?

I started making Mamia's sauce because I wanted to bring some of Ethiopia to New Zealand. I wanted to do something that was me, and also showed where I'm from. When you look around there's a lot of cultures present in New Zealand, on supermarket shelves or in restaurants, but I think that Ethiopian culture is under represented. I love Ethiopian food and I wanted to share it here, but I didn't know how until a friend suggested I start making the sauces. 


How do you recommend cooking with Mamia's sauce?

The sauce is really versatile. If you go to a supermarket, there's sauces for seafood, sauces for red meat and sauces for vegetarian and vegan cooking too; why not have just one that anyone can use? At home when I'm cooking with this sauce for my family, I started by cooking some chicken, and once it's nearly cooked through I add some Mamia's sauce to the pot and let the flavours infuse into the chicken. I add vegetables like capsicum, but you can add whatever you like, and once everything is cooked I serve it over rice. For a vegetarian or vegan option, it tastes amazing if you add some coconut cream and red lentils. It also tastes good on its own as a chutney!


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You can find Mamia's wat sauce at any Commonsense store - go grab some for yourself today!