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Tikil Gomen 2 Ways: Traditional & Easy

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

One of the most well-known Ethiopian meals is Ethiopian cabbage and potatoes, better known to some as Tikil Gomen. Easy to make in one pot, it is a dish that has so many nutrients and so much flavor that you won’t believe it. People who master this dish (and it isn’t difficult to do so) will make it over and over again.

Tikil Gomen is a crowd-pleaser as well. It is naturally gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian. It is easy to spice and season to your liking, and it can even be made quickly.

Tikil Gomen is a dish sometimes served alone, with rice, or, traditionally, with Injera flatbread. Once you try this recipe, you are going to want to try it over and over again.

One Pot Tikil Gomen Recipe

Tikil Gomen is made entirely in one pot, so make sure that you have an extremely large pot on hand. It is best to have a pot that is enameled cast iron, but you can make do with other large pots in stainless steel. You want to buy ingredients that are as high quality as you can because it is such a simple meal.

However, you can also make it extremely cheap if you need to stay on a budget. The place you want to splurge is in the olive oil, if you can.

Servings: 2-4 People

Ingredients:

  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil (As Good Quality As You Can Get)
  • ½ Of An Onion, Sliced Thinly
  • ½ Of A Small Jalapeño, Minced
  • ½ Tablespoon Ginger Paste (Heaping)
  • ¾ Teaspoon Tumeric
  • ¾ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • ¼ Teaspoon Nigella Seeds
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • A Pinch Of Ground Cloves
  • ¼ Green Bell Pepper, Sliced Thinly
  • 1 Heaping Teaspoon Of Minced Garlic
  • 1½ Cups Of Chopped Cabbage
  • ½ Cup Of Carrots Coined
  • ½ Cup Of Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Of Water, Divided

Steps:

  1. Heat a pot to medium heat and put in your olive oil. Once the oil is warmed up, add the onion (thinly sliced), the jalapeño (minced), and the ginger paste. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring to combine the ingredients.
  2. Add the turmeric, sea salt, cumin, cardamom, nigella, coriander, black pepper, clove, minced garlic, and green bell pepper.
  3. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to combine ingredients. The better mixed everything is, the better it will taste.
  4. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Continue to stir.
  5. Add the cabbage and half a cup of water. Mix well.
  6. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Keep stirring every two minutes or so or the mixture will stick to the bottom of the pot.
  7. After 10 minutes, add the rest of the water, mix, and cover. Cook until the potatoes are tender, but keep checking every few minutes to stir.
  8. Serve with rice, Injera Bread, or eat alone.

This is the traditional way to make Tikil Gomen, but there are many other recipes out there. Ethiopia, while not the biggest country, has a few different regions where you will see different percentages of ingredients.

Slow Cooker Ethiopian Cabbage

If you don’t have the time to stand in front of a pot and stir the ingredients, or you just don’t want to do it, we also have a slow cooker Ethiopian Gomen recipe. This recipe will give you a very similar taste to traditional Tikil Gomen, but it may lack a bit of the spice.

It also has far fewer ingredients, which you may notice. If you don’t live near an international market and you cannot get some of the spices in the recipe above, you should start here. If you are a fan of the recipe, you can then order the spices and make the real version.

Slow Cooker Ethiopian Cabbage

Servings: 4 People

Ingredients:

  • 1 Head Cabbage, Chopped
  • 1 Lb White Sweet Potatoes, Peeled (Cut Into 1” Cubes)
  • 3 Medium-size Carrots, Chopped
  • 1 Onion, Sliced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Oil (High Quality Olive Oil Works Best, But You Can Sub Healthier Oil)
  • 1/2 Cup Water

Steps:

  1. Pour water into the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in the slow cooker. Mix extremely well to spread out the seasoning. If you do not do this, you will burn the spices and get a charred taste that isn’t great.
  3. Cook on Low for about 6 hours.

That’s all you need to do! It is a great alternative, though you won’t get a taste that is quite as complex as the traditional format.

Tikil Gomen FAQs

People just learning how to cook Ethiopian meals, including this cabbage dish, are often surprised at some of the different ingredients. They don’t think the food seems healthy enough or they are afraid of getting the ingredients and then not like them.

Can I Use Less Oil Or Healthier Oil In My Recipe?

You can get away with reducing your oil consumption in many dishes, but this isn’t a good place to do it. It is imperative to mix the spices into the cabbage and potatoes in the dish, and the oil helps to do that. For the best results, you should use the full, listed amount of oil.

However, you can sub out healthier oils such as avocado oil, if you are worried about nutrients. You might get a slightly different taste, but it should be pretty close. Another alternative is to use half quality olive oil and half of a healthier oil. You can play around with the taste and the amount of oil that you use. After all, cooking isn’t an exact science.

Can I Use Fresh Minced Ginger Instead Of Ginger Paste?

If you aren’t interested in investing in ginger paste, or you don’t want to spend the money on something that can be, admittedly, a bit expensive, you can use fresh minced ginger. You will need to increase the amount of ginger by about one tablespoon in this recipe.

In general, you will want to double the amount of ginger in any recipe, but you will have to use your best judgment when it comes to taste. Remember that dried ginger will get spicier the longer you allow it to cook, so if you like spicey, you may need to add even more.

Does The Type Of Potato Matter?

In essence, not the type of potato that use doesn’t matter. You will get a similar result whether you use white potatoes, blue potatoes, or red potatoes. However, you won’t really get the same taste.

Some people want to substitute in yams or sweet potatoes because they are frequently used in Ethiopian cooking. If this is what you want, you should use yams and not sweet potatoes. However, you can use either if you aren’t concerned with authenticity.

Just be careful because sweet potatoes don’t have the same texture as regular white potatoes, so you will get a different texture. You will have to play around with the cooking times in order to get a result that feels good in your mouth.

Any Other Tikil Gomen Cooking Tips?

If you have never cooked Ethiopian food before, you need to be extremely careful about one thing: staining. Turmeric is used in almost all Ethiopian cooking and it packs a bunch of health benefits, but it stains anything it comes into contact with, no matter the form.

Use tools that aren’t susceptible to staining, be careful where you place your spoons and lids, try not to let your pot sit in the water with other dishes, and be careful what you use for storage. If you splash on anything, wipe it immediately with a towel or paper cloth you aren’t worried about staining.

If you are working with the mixture and your hands get that yellow/orange stain on them, try to wash them as soon as possible or you will be sporting an orange hue for a few days.

Tikil Gomen is truly one of the most interesting, flavorful dishes in all of Ethiopian cooking. Once you are able to get the spices and the mixing down, you will make this dish over and over again. If you aren’t so sure if it is for you but you want to try something new, maybe start with the slow cooker recipe and if you like that, move onto the more complicated one.

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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