If you’ve yet to try Ethiopian food, you really should. Injera (a teff-based flatbread) is central to most meals & this tikel gomen is an easy dish to serve with it. You’ll be surprised how tasty cabbage, carrots and potatoes can be!
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When it was announced that today’s Sunday Supper theme was going to be finger food, I knew straight away that I wanted to make injera and other Ethiopian food. It’s a cuisine that has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years and with good reason: it’s delicious and there are lots of dishes that work for different diets, as traditionally there is always at least one ‘fasting’ dish on the table.
The basis for nearly all Ethiopian meals is injera, a kind of flatbread made from teff flour which is both gluten-free and pretty healthy. Injera is often both the plate and then torn up and used kind of as a scoop for whatever you have with it.
Typically there are a number of dishes but today I’m sharing one easy dish to get you started – tikel gomen – that’s made with carrots, cabbage and potatoes. It may only have a few ingredients, but it’s got great flavor and is a tasty introduction to Ethiopian food.
My introduction to Ethiopian food
I first had Ethiopian food in New York many years ago but it was all part of a whirlwind few months living there that I didn’t remember too much other than I enjoyed it. Since moving here, I found a place in Boston that we have been to a couple times now as we enjoyed it so much. It has inspired me to make my own a few times at home too.
I have used a couple recipes I found but then played around a bit myself. In fairness, neither injera nor tikel gomen are that complicated, nor do they have that many ingredients, so there hasn’t been too much playing with these. But then in some ways that just shows they are both delicious and non-complicated to start with. Both, of course, are definitely good things.
How to make injera
The only moderately difficult things with the injera are a) finding teff flour and b) planning ahead a little to let it ferment. I couldn’t find teff flour in supermarkets near me so I bought it online which is of course easy enough.
There are lighter and darker varieties of teff so your injera may not be the same color as I have here (which is darker than I have had elsewhere). I used Bob’s Red Mill teff flour, but you’ll find other manufacturers online too.
Injera is only really flour and water but you in effect make a sourdough using natural yeast in the air so you need to let it ferment for 1 – 3 days. It can vary exactly how long is needed from one batch to the next and generally the longer you leave it the more of the slightly sour flavor will come through. If you’ve ever made sourdough bread, you’ll recognize seeing the bubbles in the mixture and the characteristic smell.
Making tikel gomen
The tikel gomen is very easy – simply fry the onions and carrots in some oil, add the potatoes, cabbage and spices then cover and let them cook to tenderness. It’s that easy, and there aren’t even many spices, but I think it’s one of the tastiest ways I’ve eaten those vegetables short of being in curry.
I plan to work on and share more Ethiopian dishes in due course as the flavors are so delicious. I’m also a fan of having various dishes on my plate to mix and savor (part of why I like Spanish tapas).
Tikel gomen is one of the more aromatic Ethiopian dishes but others have a fiery heat, so if you are a fan do try those too. As I said this injera and tikel gomen are a great introduction to Ethiopian food for the flavors, colors and way of eating. So find some teff flour and give them a try – it’s not difficult and the results will get your tastebuds exploring (and as a bonus, it’s all vegan and gluten free).
Try these other tasty vegetarian meals:
Ethiopian injera and tikel gomen (cabbage, carrots and potato)
Injera is the base of most Ethiopian dishes and tikel gomen is a common vegetable dish to enjoy with it. Simple but delicious flavors.
For the injera
- ¾ cup teff flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 dash salt
- a little olive oil or coconut oil for frying
For the tikel gomen
- ½ onion small-medium, thinly sliced
- 4 oz carrots 115g, cut in medium-thin slices
- 9 oz potatoes 260g, peeled and diced approx ¾in/2cm dice
- 4 ½ oz white cabbage 130g, shredded, or light green
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
At least a day ahead, mix together the teff flour and the water in a bowl, cover loosely with a cloth and leave to sit at room temperature to gently ferment for 1 – 3 days (the slightly sour flavor will be stronger the longer it is left).
When ready to cook
When you are ready to cook, make the tikel gomen first and make the injera as the tikel gomen is almost ready.
For the tikel gomen, warm the oil in a pan that has a lid (skillet or deeper pan fine) over a medium heat and add the onions and carrots. Cook, stirring regularly, for around 5min, so that the onions soften but don’t brown.
Add the potatoes, cabbage, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir so the spices are mixe through, reduce the heat, cover and leave to cook around 20-30min until the potatoes are tender, stirring now and then.
When the tikel gomen is almost ready, warm a little oil in a skillet/frying pan for the injera. Pour a thin layer into the pan to cover roughly to the edge (the exact amount you need depends on the size of your pan, you can make them large or small – large is more traditional although smaller is easier to remove from the pan).
Cover the pan and allow to cook for 3-5minutes until any bubbles in the batter disappear, it’s dry on top and the edges start to curl up. Use a spatula to remove from the pan and keep warm (cover with a cloth) while you cook the rest. If in doubt, it’s probably better to let it cook longer to save it sticking to the pan and the flavor if it crisps slightly is quite nice, though I know not everyone’s preference.
Note the tikel gomen will serve more if it’s one of a number of dishes as is often served.
calories: 293calories | Carbohydrates: 60g | protein: 10g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 856mg | fiber: 12g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 9535UI | Vitamin C: 43.3mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 8.6mg
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store.
Try these other finger food ideas:
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