Recipe: Gomen (Collard Greens)

Before trying gomen for the first time at an Ethiopian restaurant, I don’t think I had ever eaten collard greens before in my life. I don’t know why- I’m a longtime vegetarian who is unafraid of trying all sorts of more adventurous greens, like kale or swiss chard- but I sure was missing out. To me, gomen is a must-have when I make several Ethiopian stews for dinner. Having a healthy green really seems to balance it all out, taste-wise and nutritionally.

This is a recipe that I have to admit I’ve sort of come up with on my own. By using recipes online, asking Kiddy for her ingredient list and using her cooking methods, and memorizing the flavors from several Ethiopian restaurants, I experimented and came up with the following. Adam thinks it tastes even better than the kind we get at one of our favorite restaurants, and Dawit gets a look of pure delight on his face when he sees me pulling out a big bag of greens as I put away the groceries, so I think the recipe’s a hit. I almost always supersize the recipe to ensure that I get a taste 🙂

On a side note: some Eth. restaurants use spinach instead of collard greens. It tastes good, but Dawit was unfamiliar with spinach when he came to America and I suspect that the substitution is an Americanization and not “authentic.” Stick with the collard greens if you have them at your local grocery store.

Recipe: Gomen

2 bunches of collard greens
1 large onion, chopped
1/3+ c. canola oil (replace some of the oil with niter kibbeh or butter if desired)
minced garlic and ginger (about 2-3 tsp. each, would be my guess. If you’ve read my other recipes, you know how this works)
2 jalapeño peppers, de-seeded and chopped
salt, to taste

Pull off the leaves of the collard greens and discard the stems. Tear the leaves into medium-sized pieces (just small enough to get them into the pot for cooking- you’ll chop them into smaller pieces later) and wash them well under cold water. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to boil and add the greens. Cook for about 10-15 minutes- the greens should change color and soften. Drain in a large colander and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out all of the excess moisture and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

Cook the onions on medium heat until they start to soften and turn translucent, about seven minutes. Add the oil/niter kibbeh/butter and cook for several minutes. Then add the garlic, ginger, and jalapeños and saute for several more minutes. Add the chopped greens and stir well, ensuring that the greens are thoroughly mixed in with the other ingredients. Add salt and cook on medium-low until the greens have soaked in the flavor.


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