Ethiopian Spinach Stew (Gomen Wot), our recipe for this month’s challenge in “Around the World in 12 Plates”, destination: Ethiopia!
Ethiopian Spinach Stew (Gomen Wot), a simple and delicious dish. Beautifully stewed to bring you a smooth and velvety texture, and highlighting the wonderful flavor of spinach.
Ethiopia here we come with our Ethiopian Stewed Spinach (Gomen Wot)!
Ethiopia is known as the place where one of the oldest human was found. It is located in east-central Africa. Bordered by Sudan on the west, Somalia to the east and south by Kenya. For me Ethiopia is steeped in traditions and especially food. I don’t know any culture that is not passionate about their recipes. I love when you meet people of different origins and you propose some questions about food, recipes, and tradition. Right off the bat, they are in and their eyes light up, as they begin their discourse on tradition, culture, and celebrations. One thing that is prevalent is that Ethiopian smile, bright and mysterious at the same time hmmmmmmmm…………………..
I have been blessed I feel, as I have experienced many cultures and Ethiopia was one that I was introduced to after an Aboriginal Indian Drumming circle. Someone had suggested going for a bite to eat, and I have to tell you after drumming and singing for over an hour, you develop an appetite, so I was in especially because someone said the place was a mix of African and Ethiopian cuisine.
We had a variety of dishes and it came on a large basket lined with injera bread, a somewhat elastic and soft flatbread. The taste somewhat like a sour bread. We were told that in Ethiopia the bread is used somewhat like cutlery. You break a piece off and grab some of the food with it and eat it, injera and all. I was like a kid in a candy store. This type of eating really pleased me as it promoted a lot of conversation and brought sharing to an even more intimate and interactive experience. The food was spicy, colorful, and oh so flavorful. The injera helped soothe the spice and the people there had big smiles on their face, as they watched us. Later on I had another Ethiopian experience at a local restaurant called Langano Skies. My cousin introduced us into their monthly dinner club and each month a couple or person picks the restaurant. This particular month was Nicoletta and mine and we picked Langano Skies and Ethiopian cuisine. I loved the experience and the food was amazing, the Injera was a surprise to some and it took them a while to get used to that idea, but after some warming up and conversation, the food was flowing.
When Gabby told us Ethiopia was our next stop, I was thrilled and having bought a cookbook called “Edmonton Cooks” which featured Langano Skies and a couple of their recipes, the Spinach Stew (Gomen Wot) was the winner of our feature, which we served with a nice steamed jasmine rice.
Some may ask why not fresh spinach, and I would answer the recipe asked for frozen and after doing the recipe I understand why. This spinach is stewed in water for quite some time. The key texture to achieve is a silky smooth one and with the frozen spinach it has been pre-cooked somewhat, add the 40 minutes plus, and you are left with exactly that. Silky and velvety spinach.
The Jasmin rice is the perfect accompaniment for the Gomen Wot, well maybe second to injera. The jasmine has a nice nuttiness to it, with hints of sesame, and does not steal the show. It allows the spinach to shine through and adds that varied texture to keep your palate interested.
The Ethiopian Spinach Stew is luxurious in a very simple way. The sauteed onions and garlic come through subtly, as the silkiness and earthiness of the spinach come through. I look forward to trying many more Ethiopian recipes, and even attempting the injera, after all, what is life without adventure, so if you are willing to try this Ethiopian Spinach Stew (Gomen Wot) and let’s get multicultural!
P.S. We served the Ethiopian Spinach Stew, (Gomen Wot), with a nice curried cod (recipe and post to come)!
Song of the day: “Diamonds on the soles of her shoes” Paul Simon.
Recipe from the cookbook "Edmonton Cooks", Langano Skies Restaurant.
- 1 medium yellow onion, pureed in the food processor
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups water, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, pureed (or finely chopped)
- 600 g frozen spinach, chopped (do not drain their water)
- salt to taste
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 2 cups water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Puree the onion in a food processor, then add it to a large pot on the stovetop and bring heat to a medium-low.
- Cover the pot with the lid, stirring occasionally so not to brown the onion, for about 5 minutes. Because they are pureed they will release a lot more moisture, so they will sweat in the pot.
- Add vegetable oil and 1 cup of water. Stir and continue to cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until onions are golden brown and separate from the oil. Stir occasionally to prevent onions from burning.
- Add the pureed (or finely chopped) garlic and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking to the pot.
- Add the chopped spinach and their water to the pot and stir.
- Cook for about 25 minutes, until creamy and smooth, adding water as necessary to keep the mixture creamy (about 1 cup). Keep the spinach just covered with water for about 15 minutes, and then let the water cook off for the last 10 minutes. the result should be a smooth, stew-like consistency.
- Add salt to taste.
- In a medium pot combine rice, water, salt, and sesame oil.
- Stir and cover and place on a medium to high heat burner.
- Bring to a boil about 10 minutes stirring constantly.
- Turn heat to a low simmer and still continue stirring for about another 10 minutes.
- When all water is absorbed take off heat and keep covered.for an additional 10 minutes.
- To serve take a fork and fluff the rice a bit then plate.
- Scoop rice into serving dish.
- Place spinach ontop in the center.
- Ready to serve.
Traditionally this stew is served with injera (the Ethiopian bread), but it also go well with white rice (as we did), pita, potatoes, or roti. Served with Red Lentils (Yemisir Kik Wot) is a complete vegetarian (vegan) meal.
Thanks to Gabby Peyton The Food Girl in Town, for creating and including us in “Around the World in 12 Plates”. Every month is such an exciting adventure!
Make sure you check the rest of the amazing fellow bloggers that met the challenge for “Around the World in 12 Plates, Ethiopia”: