Collard greens are a favorite among southerners. The modern American dish has its roots in Africa. Ethiopia’s take on collard greens is called ye’abesha gomen (Ethiopian greens) or gomen watt (green stew). The ye’abshea gomen is a filling and healthy side dish. The taste will be similar to those who enjoy Indian palak paneer. It goes well with many other Ethiopian dishes, or can be used instead of collard greens in a traditional meal from the American south.
4 tablespoons clarified butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
1/8 teaspoon black onion seeds
1/8 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 jalepeno pepper, minced and seeded
1 medium red onion, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound of chopped collard greens
2 cups water or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
Juice of one lemon
Heat a large stewpot over medium heat. Melt the clairified butter, and add the cadamon, fenugreek, black onion seed, mustard seed, red pepper flakes, cinnamon and ginger. Cook until the spices begin to smell fragrant.
Add the garlic, pepper, and onion. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until the onions become translucent.
Stir in the collards, and cook until the leaves are wilted. Add water and olive oil. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the collards are tender. Stir in lemon juice, and remove from heat. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Ye’abesha gomen is usually served alongside a meat based stew such as doro wat, on top of an injera. For a tasty and complete vegetarian dinner, use ya’abesha gomen with timita salata, atkilt wat, messier wat, and lab.