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My Grandmother’s Favorite Dish

I have been influenced by all of the places that I’ve lived. I am an Ethiopian, I am an Israeli, I’m American, I’m a Black woman. I try to express that throughout my cooking and throughout Tsion. I am cooking from my ancestors.

I chose collard greens because gomen reminds me of my grandma; it was one of her favorite dishes. The first time I ate it was back in Ethiopia, after helping my grandma prepare it. As a child, it wasn’t the most exciting dish, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate it. We had a lot of collard greens in our backyard, and it is one of the staple dishes in Ethiopian cuisine.  It is widely accessible, delicious, and easy to make.

In Israel, it was sometimes hard to find the ingredients that were so abundant in Ethiopia. I remember going out into the fields and finding wild daisies or turnips that were quite similar to collard greens in terms of taste in order to make this dish. I also wanted to inform an American audience that collard greens don’t have to be cooked with meat, pork, or sugar. It can be vegan and very nutritious. 

Ethiopian Goman (Collard Greens)

Serves 4-6. Prep time: 35 mins.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. collard greens  
  • 2 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • Tbsp ginger, peeled 
  • ¼ cup oil 
  • ¼   cup water 
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper 
  • 1 Jalapeno

Directions:

  1. Puree onions, garlic, ginger in food processor
  2. In a large pan sauté your onions, garlic, ginger in oil. Cook until softened, for 10-15 mins, stirring occasionally 
  3. Add collards, salt and pepper. Cook for 20 mins while stirring, until collards are soft.
  4. Add water as needed.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally 
  5.  For extra spiciness, add one chopped jalapeno, cut into quarters, with or without the seeds.  
  6. Serve with injera or rice       

Beejhy Barhany is an entrepreneur, and activist, who was born in Ethiopia, raised in Israel, and currently resides in New York. She is the founder of BINA Cultural Foundation non-profit dedicated to celebrating and advocating for Ethiopian Jews in North America. Today, she is the chef and owner of an eclectic Ethiopian restaurant, Tsion Café, that incorporates cuisine from the many places that have been influential on her journeys. Currently, she’s working on a cookbook as well looking to publish a children’s book.