One of my favorite types of food is Ethiopian (check out my recipe for Ethiopian Chickpea Salad). This veg-friendly cuisine offers a variety of dishes to choose from and one of my favorites is Tikil Gomen. Tikil Gomen (Cabbage and Potatoes) is a type of wat that is commonly consumed by being scooped up with a piece of injera, a sourdough flatbread somewhat similar to a tortilla. If you are fortunate enough to live in a city with an Ethiopian restaurant or store, you will likely be able to order some injera to take home so you can eat your homemade Tikil Gomen in style. Otherwise, don’t worry, I won’t judge you for eating this delicious dish with a trusty old fork.
A star ingredient, cabbage, is a cruciferous vegetable that is a good source of dietary fiber, folate, and vitamins B6, C and K (source). Check out the benefits of potatoes and carrots.
Tikil Gomen (Ethiopian Cabbage and Potatoes)
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
8 yellow baby potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 (10-ounce) bag shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes; stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Add carrots; stir, cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add cabbage and onion; stir, cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add garlic, salt, ginger and turmeric; stir, cover and cook for a final 5 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Native to South Asia, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a member of the ginger family and has a bitter taste. It is said to have been used in India for over 2500 years, particularly in religious ceremonies and weddings, and is a primary ingredient in Indian, African, Persian and Thai cuisines. Turmeric is often used to give many prepared foods their yellow color, some of which include: broths, curry powder, salad dressing and yellow mustard. In vegan cooking, however, turmeric is most widely used in conjunction with tofu to create imitation egg dishes such as tofu scramble. Furthermore, the spice can be used in place of saffron as a cheaper substitute (source).
Having multiple uses, turmeric is useful as a fabric dye and in skin care, as well as for medicinal purposes, particularly in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. This spice is said to help reduce the effects of or prevent many ailments such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, cancer, colds/flu, cuts/bruises and diabetes, and it is also said to assist with weight loss (source). Turmeric is a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Iron, Manganese, Potassium and Vitamin B6, and is a good source of Magnesium and Vitamin C (source).
Here in Chicago we have an awesome authentic Indian restaurant called Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine; and one of my favorite things to eat there is the Jeera Rice, a popular North Indian dish. Jeera, Hindi for “cumin seeds” (source) is used to describe this dish as it is prepared with cumin seeds. Traditionally cooked with a blend of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander and cumin, Jeera rice is easy to prepare, and is delicious on its own, but even more so when eaten alongside curry or another sauce-heavy dish.
They key to making this rice is to rinse your rice before cooking (especially if you use brown basmati), which helps remove excess starch, and to fry it before boiling, which helps improve the texture, in addition to adding another dimension of flavor.
Yields 4 cups
2 cups white basmati rice
2 tablespoons vegan buttery spread
2 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 brown whole cardamom
4 cups water
3/4 – 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Place rice in a sieve or strainer and rinse until water runs clear. Set aside.
In a medium-large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom and rice. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add water and salt to taste, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing lid. Sprinkle with turmeric, mix carefully and serve.
Did you know that herbs and spices are actually different?
We often use the words herbs and spices interchangeably. This is likely due to the fact that both are used to add flavor to food. These flavorings, however, are slightly different. In culinary use, herbs are the leaves of plants (source) whereas spices are the bark, fruit, roots or seeds (source). Below is a list of the most common herbs and spices.