Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tikil Gomen - Ethiopian Cabbage, Carrots and Potatoes

Many years ago, on the west coast, my church became home for a while to a group of Ethiopians.  Every once in a while, they would have a dinner on Saturday night and on Sunday, the entire hall and kitchen smelled delicious.  Finally, Tennie cooked some lunch for us at the church, and the mysterious aromas and tastes kept me going back to the line again and again. Fast forward a few years, and a friend named Poindexter and I used to drive up from San Jose to Berkeley to hit the used bookstores and eat as the Blue Lotus, probably the best Ethiopian food I've ever had.  Alas, the Blue Lotus lives no more, but I will never forget all the different dishes I tried there.  We went there at least twice a month, and after a while, the proprietor would simply bring us food to try without us having to order anything. Man, I loved that place.

Now that I live in a place that is not as diverse, I miss a lot of the little mom and pop ethnic restaurants that I used to frequent. Wherever I go, I look for Ethiopian, Eritrean, Cambodian, Indian, Pakistani, Thai, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Arabic and Vietnamese food.  I was so spoiled in San Jose, and I didn't even know it.

Last night I read a food blog which featured a recipe for Ethiopian cabbage, carrots and potatoes and I knew that was going to be my dinner tonight. I had a small cabbage, a few potatoes and carrots that really needed to be used, a large onion, and a collection of spices that would make a sultan weep. The problem was that I could tell that recipe was going to be really, really bland. Isn't google a wonderful thing? I googled the recipe, looked at about 4 recipes, and winged it in my pressure cooker.

First thing, you should measure out your spices.  Then you should peel the potatoes and carrots (save the peelings, onion skins and ends for broth). Chop everything.  Next, heat the oil in the pot over high heat, stir in the onions, garlic and ginger, then the potatoes and carrots, then the spices and saute, and lastly, toss in the cabbage, stir to combine, add about 3/4 C water, stir again and lock the lid in place. Bring to pressure and let 'er rip for 9 minutes exactly. Quickly bring the pressure down, open the pot stir and taste for salt and pepper. I ended up adding about 1tsp of salt and a squirt of Sriracha, just because I am addicted to Sriracha.  Alas, no injera in my house, so I'll eat it with a tortilla.  How is that for fusion dining?

This was so amazing!!!!!!!!  It took about 15 minutes to measure and chop, about 3 minutes to come to pressure, 9 minutes at pressure, and about 2 minutes to come down from pressure. Basically, this is a half hour meal.  Add some cooked chick peas if you want.  This would be amazing as a bed for a poached or baked egg, or as a cold topping for a strange, but delicious bruschetta.  At least I think so.

Here are the ingredients:
2 Tbs olive oil
5 carrots, peeled and sliced thick
1 onion, halved lengthwise and sliced
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
half a medium
cabbage, chopped
1 tsp curry
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 inch minced ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp mixed Arabic spices (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg)
1 tsp ground cumin

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