Gomen Besiga: Ethiopian Collard Greens with Lamb

With a dinner party planned and about eight pounds of Portuguese kale waiting to be harvested from my garden, I couldn’t wait to make Gomen Besiga. Our variety of kale is very similar to the collard greens in this dish, but the leaves are much larger and have less ribs, which make them much so much easier to clean and process. Yay!

So what is Gomen Besiga? It’s an Ethiopian dish that hits the soul-food spot with its spicy braised greens and lamb instead of ham hock. The dish is wonderful served on its own over injera or even better with a few side dishes. If you don't know where to get some of these ingredients, check out my previous blog post on how to acquire them. 

We served our Gomen Besiga to our happy guests with Doro Wot (a spicy chicken stew), Kik Alicha (yellow split peas), and a side salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, serrano peppers, danish white cheese, and Italian dressing. We ate every bite on our plates  because it was so delicious! Somehow we saved room for dessert and had a little honey wine and baklava. How perfect is that for a dinner party?

So if you’re wanting to throw a party yourself, but say you desire less meat, consider other recipes from my blog as well. All can be made vegan without altering the amazing good flavor, including mesir wot (the vegetarian version of doro wot) and gomen (the vegetarian version of gomen besiga). 

Gomen Besiga: Ethiopian Collard Greens with Lamb

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

2 lbs collard greens or kale, rinsed and chopped
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
¼ cup niter Kibbeh
½ tsp nigella seeds
1 tbsp ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb boneless leg of lamb, cubed into ½ inch pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
4 to 6 serrano peppers (less for mild), chopped
4 medium scallions, chopped
¼ tsp berbere
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp fenugreek or methi leaves

Injera, to serve

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, add collard greens and wilt over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In another large skillet or Dutch oven, heat niter kibbeh over medium-high heat. Add onions and nigella seeds and sauté until onions are soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high, add lamb, season with salt and pepper, and stir until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add reserved collard greens, bell peppers, serranos, scallions, berbere, turmeric, and fenugreek and stir. Then add 1.5 cups hot water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover partially with a lid, stirring occasionally for about 40-45 minutes, until water is fully absorbed and greens are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over injera! 



Ethiopian Yellow Split Peas with Kale & Spicy Red Lentils


I’m not sure if I’ve said this already, but I really LOVE Ethiopian cuisine. Okay, maybe I did tell you in an earlier post [HERE], but I can’t express my crazy addicted love for it enough. One thing I like best is that the vegetarian dishes, which are vegan when omitting the spiced butter or substituting with vegan cheese in the salad, are just as yummy as the meat dishes.

So below I present to you Misir Wot and Kik Alicha, two dishes I like to cook side by side. While split peas may be a dish you hated as a child, know that these are the delicious gourmet kind, cooked in a lovely turmeric onion sauce. I added kale because there’s a lot growing in my garden, and it’s always fun to add extra greens when possible. But who doesn’t love spicy red lentils? Misir Wot’s flavors are actually really similar to Doro Wot (Chicken in a Berbere Sauce with Hard Boiled Eggs), and you won’t miss the lack of meat at all.

What about the protein content, you might ask? Oh, that’s right. The protein in split peas is highly absorbable and red lentils aren’t half bad! Combine them with injera, which is made from the Teff, and your amino acid profile is even more complete. Plus, by eating legumes, you’re upping your fiber, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium intake, while lowing your intake of saturated fat! Eating yummy legumes like these will go a long way to lead you to good health.

Are you ready for the recipes yet? I’m already hungry for these dishes again, even though I only devoured them a few hours ago! Don’t forget to visit my earlier post link above for tips on acquiring some of the ingredients and making your own injera!


Misir Wot, Spicy Ethiopian Lentils

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

2 yellow onions, finely minced
2 tbsp garlic (5-7 cloves), minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
½ cup olive oil
3 to 5 tbsp berbere spice mix (less for mild)
½ cup diced or crushed tomatoes
1 cup dried red lentils, sorted and rinsed
4 cups water
½ tsp Ethiopian Cardamom
½ tsp salt
1 tsp Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter), optional
4 to 5 Injera rounds (Ethiopian bread), for serving

Heat a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and sweat without oil and being careful to not over-stir, for about 10 minutes. Cook onions until golden brown, lowering heat if necessary. Stir in garlic and ginger and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add olive oil and berbere, and sauté over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture reaches a paste consistency.

Stir in tomatoes, lentils, and ½ cup water to the onion mixture and bring to a simmer. Over a 15-minute period, add about ½ cup of water every 2 minutes, until all 4 cups of water are absorbed. Lower heat and cover, simmering about 10 minutes longer. Add cardamom and salt.

Test the lentils for doneness. Continue to cook about 10-20 minutes longer, until lentils are soft, but not overcooked. Remove from heat and serve over injera!


Kik Alicha with Kale

Adapted from Ethiopian Fire & Spice by Fetlework Tefferi
Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

2 cups yellow split peas, sorted and rinsed
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp ginger, minced
½ tsp Alicha Kimem, optional
½ tsp turmeric
½ bunch kale, sliced into 1-inch strips
2 tbsp garlic (5-7 cloves), minced
4 to 5 spices Injera (Ethopian bread), for serving

Soak split peas in hot water for 15 minutes.

Sweat onions on low heat in a covered saucepan for 2 minutes. Do not over-stir. Add 1/3 cup of hot water, cover, and cook for about 3 minutes. Add water and olive oil, and sauté for 3 minutes longer.

As the water evaporates, continue to make sure the onions do not dry up or change color. Add ¼ cup hot water, 1 tbsp ginger, and a pinch of the turmeric. The sauce should have a soup like consistency. Keep covered and continue to cook for 4 minutes.

Add the split peas and mix well into the sauce. Add 2 cups of hot water, cover, and cook. After about 2 minutes, when the split peas are tender, add alicha kimem for additional flavor. Add garlic and the remaining 1 tbsp ginger. Stir the peas, scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid sticking. Add water as needed. Add remaining turmeric, reduce heat to medium. Cover and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, until the peas are tender. Stir frequently, ad make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

An Ethiopian Feast Fit for a Sunday: Doro Wot with Gomen


Ethiopian food is one of my favorite cuisines. It might be because I’m allowed to eat with my hands (with a little injera as my utensil), which makes me feel just a little more connected with my food than usual. But it’s mostly because it’s tasty! If you haven’t tried it before, it could be your favorite cuisine too. The flavor profiles are similar to Mexican and Indian and the dishes are imbued with healthy spices that are addicting to boot.

Luckily in 2016, the spices in my recipes below (berbere, fenugreek, korerima, tikur azmud), butter (niter kibbeh), and bread (injera) can be purchased online if you don’t live near a local Ethiopian market (do Yelp your local metropolitan area to find out). If purcashing online, try amazon.com and ethiopianspices.com for spices and pureindianfoods.com for niter kibbeh. Injera can also be found at ethopianspices.com, but I just found a listing on Etsy from Fassica’s store that offers 100% teff, which is most authentic, and what I prefer. You can fold the injera over a couple times and freeze any leftovers for your next meal. We typically use a little over one injera per person. So if you’re serving four people, you’ll need about five.

Now for those of you who don’t mind putting a little time into your Ethiopian pantry, you can make your own berbere, kibbeh, and injera. Recipes aplenty exist online for berbere and kibbeh, but for injera, take a trip over to Avery Moore’s YouTube Channel where I learned how to make injera perfectly. Written instructions are on her blog, which are great to pair with the video instructions. It’s just a little bit of work for impressive rewards and some serious bragging rights. You don’t need the injera cookware that she uses either. I’ve used a large non-stick frittata pan without a problem.

Okay, so what do you do when you’ve read this post and have purchased the ingredients? You make a feast, of course! Below is a recipe for one of my favorite Ethiopian platters. It’s absolutely delicious and I promise that if you follow the instructions, you can prepare restaurant-quality Ethiopian cuisine in your home kitchen.


An Ethiopian Feast Fit For a Sunday

Time: 2 Hours
Serves 4-6


1 large or 2 small bunches collard greens or kale, roughly chopped
2 medium yellow onions, minced
1/4 cup niter kibbeh (Clarified Ethiopian butter)
2 medium roma tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeños or 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp tikur azmud (a.k.a. black seed, black cumin; nigella)
2 cups warm water
Salt, to taste

Doro Wot
1.5 lbs chicken pieces (boneless thigh, legs)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt
2 onions, minced
1/3 cup berbere
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp niter kibbeh (Clarified Ethiopian butter)
1 tsp ginger root, minced
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds, ground
1/4 tsp korerima, ground (varied spellings; a.k.a. Ethiopian Cardamom)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup water
4-6 eggs (older eggs = easier peel)
2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tbsp salt
Ice, for ice water bath
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1-2 jalapeños, finely chopped or 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
4 oz Danish white cheese or feta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Olive oil & vinegar salad dressing, to taste (about 3 tbsp)

To Serve
Injera, 5 rounds

In a medium mixing bowl, rub chicken with lemon juice and salt. Cover and place bowl in refrigerator to marinate while preparing the rest of the dish.

To prepare Gomen, in a large saucepan, add onions over low heat without oil, and stir occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Add tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic, and tikur azmud, and cook for 2 minutes. Add kibbeh, and cook for 5 minutes. Add greens and water and simmer until tender for 35-45 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile, prepare Doro Wot. In a large dutch oven, cook onions over low heat, stirring occasionally until golden, for about 15-20 minutes. Add berbere, garlic, and 1/4 cup water and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in kibbeh and sauté for 2 minutes. Add remaining spices, 1/4 cup water, and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add wine, 1/4 cup water, and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, on a high simmer for 5 minutes. Add reserved chicken and coat with sauce, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While chicken simmers, start eggs in saucepan with 6 cups water, vinegar, and salt, and heat uncovered to a 180F simmer (e.g. bubbles should just begin to break the surface). Shut off the heat and leave on burner for 10 minutes, and prepare an ice water bath. When eggs are done, add to bath and let sit for 5 minutes to cool. Carefully peel eggs and pierce with a fork on all sides and reserve.

Prepare salad by adding all ingredients to a large bowl. Mix and set aside.

When the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened, add eggs and simmer until eggs have soaked up the sauce, about 5 minutes. Add black pepper and remove from heat.

Serve Gomen, Doro Wot, and the salad over injera with extra rolls of injera on the side.