If you’re looking for an authentic Ethiopian veggie side dish to serve with your Ethiopian entree, Gomen is among the most popular and delicious.
This authentic Ethiopian side dish takes eating healthy greens to a whole new level of deliciousness! Quick, easy, and tasty.
What Is Gomen?
Gomen, also known as ye’abasha gomen or abesha gomen, is a spicy Ethiopian meal made with green leafy vegetables such as collards or green cabbage.
Collard greens are quite popular in African culture and are widely consumed across the continent. In Ethiopia, collard greens, locally known as gomen (ጎመን), are a staple. Ye’abasha (a term collectively used to refer to Ethiopians and Eritreans) gomen translates to “Ethiopian collard greens”.
Collard is derived from the medieval phrase “colewort,” which meant “primitive cabbage.” Cole is derived from the Latin term caulis, which means stem or cabbage, and wort denotes any plant. Collard greens are sometimes known as non-heading cabbage or tree cabbage.
They are a major food crop in countries like Brazil, Portugal, Zimbabwe, the southern United States, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Balkans, Italy, northern Spain, and Kashmir, India.
Gomen Wat Recipe
The preparation of this recipe is quite simple. The greens, either collard leaves or cabbage, are braised and slow-cooked along with grated onion, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes. Like most Ethiopian dishes, to get that authentic Ethiopian flavor, this recipe also uses niter kibbeh (ንጥር ቅቤ), clarified butter infused with spices and herbs, for frying.
Niter kibbeh closely resembles Indian ghee. The main difference is that while clarifying, the butter is infused with certain spices. Niter kibbeh is infused with a variety of fragrant herbs and spices resulting in a clarified butter that is highly aromatic and flavorful.
Niter kibbeh is extremely easy to make and keeps for several months in the fridge. While you can buy niter kibbeh online, nothing compares to the flavor and fragrance of homemade. Check out our recipe for Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Butter).
Although collard greens are commonly used in the preparation of this recipe, traditionally, this dish was made with cabbage leaves. Both vegetables belong to the same family.
How To Serve Gomen Wat
A variety of Ethiopian dishes are commonly served for a meal and instead of serving them on a plate are served on injera, Ethiopian flatbread. Additional injera is served on the side and pieces are torn off and used as utensils to scoop up the food.
This traditional Ethiopian side dish can be found in most Ethiopian restaurants and pairs wonderfully with any number of Ethiopian meat and vegetarian dishes including Doro wat, and injera, to name a few.
Be Sure to Try These Other Authentic Ethiopian dishes!
Be sure to recreate this incredible delicacy that is not only delicious but also full of proteins, fiber, and tons of vitamins like iron and calcium needed for your body. Bon appétit!
Gomen (Ethiopian Collard Greens)
- 3 tablespoons niter kibbeh (plus an extra tablespoon for later)
- 1 large yellow onion , halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 bunch collard greens (about 12 ounces) , washed, thick stems removed, roughly chopped (can also use kale)
- Heat niter kibbeh in a pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the collard greens and another tablespoon of niter kibbeh and cook until the collards turn bright green and are wilted but still a slightly crispy, 5-7 minutes.
- Add more spices and/or niter kibbeh to taste.