Ethiopian Cabbage

Ethiopian Cabbage

Good music goes with good food. ~African Proverb

Ever since stumbling on an Ethiopian restaurant, we have been going back there and persuading friends to go with us. Eating is very communal in the culture and we unabashedly and awkwardly tucked in using our right hands, as Ethiopians do. Ethiopian food incorporates lots of earthy and aromatic spices, not un-similar to Malay and Indian curries that we so love yet distinctively Middle Eastern.  Turmeric, cumin, ginger, paprika fenugreek, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg are just some of the common ones. The cuisine is rich in vegetables and spicy meats, often served on injera, a large circular sourdough flatbread of fermented teff flour, and everyone tears off pieces of it to wrap the food in.

Why not invite your friends to a dinner where Spices are the main act?

For appetizers, don’t overlook Lemongrass Ginger Patties to set the pace for the evening.
Braised Pork Belly can be prepared a day ahead and warmed up just before serving. Pair with Ethiopian Cabbage and serve with steamed rice. Fried Salmon Cubes  are an easy seafood addition.
Round off with an Easy Gajar Halwa for dessert.
Finally, serve up warm Golden Turmeric Milk packed with nutritional goodness, settles the stomach after all the feasting and assures a good night’s sleep.

Meanwhile, on the nightstand is The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescuers, an Omnivore’s Dilemma for dog lovers.


Tip: This is really a all-in-the-pot vegetable dish, though cabbage and carrots seem to the staples. Other vegetables such as peppers, okra and potatoes can be added. Just be sure to add the cabbage last to prevent overcooking. Adjust the simmering time to cook till all everything is tender. Great for vegetarians and vegans!


Ethiopian Cabbage
Ethiopian Cabbage with a kalimba, an African musical instrument played by plucking metal tines with the thumbs.

Ethiopian Cabbage

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Ethiopian Cabbage
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An all-in-one vegetable dish richly steeped in earthy, healthful spices.
Recipe type: Sides
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Serves: 6
  • 1 medium cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, sliced or chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1" ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Heat 4 Tbsp oil in a large pot or casserole. Sweat onions over medium heat till softened.
  2. Add garlic and ginger for about 1 minute.
  3. Add carrots, tomatoes, and salt and cook till carrots just begin to soften.
  4. Add remaining spices - turmeric, black pepper, cumin and paprika. Stir well. Add ¼ cup water and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add cabbage and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
Bell peppers, okra or potatoes can be added too. Cabbage should be added last.

Did you know?

The kalimba is an African musical instrument where metal tines of varying lengths are attached to half a hollowed-out gourd. It is played by using a plucking motion of the thumbs.  It is sometimes called a ‘thumb piano’. Several notes can be played simultaneously using both thumbs and fingers.

Ethiopian Cabbage



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