12 Ingredients | 30 Minutes | This Ethiopian, one pot, cabbage stew (i.e. Atakilt Wat or Atkilt Wot) is vegan, gluten-free, and delicious. Flavored with turmeric, it’s a great way to use up your pantry veggies!
I’ve spent most of my professional life working in Sub-Saharan Africa and as a result, really come to appreciate the vast flavor palette of the continent (which can, sometimes, be an acquired taste). This Ethiopian cabbage recipe is seasonal, super easy to make, and tastes absolutely delicious and hearty.
Best part? You don’t need any special spices (it’s all about infusing the oil you cook the dish with, and ideally, using a cast iron pan to make sure the heat and spices are spread evenly through the dish – so read on to find out)
Vegetarian “combos” at Ethiopian restaurants refer to yetsom beyanetu, i.e. “a fasting of every kind”. There is a high prevalence of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia (and Eritrea). Therefore, a vast majority of the country fasts (without meat and animal products) for a good chunk of the year. Result? Delicious vegetarian dishes, rich in protein and legumes!
Traditional Atkilt Wot Ingredients
The traditional recipe uses something called Nit’ir Qibe (pronounced Nitter Kibbeh) – which is essentially spiced, clarified butter. However, this takes quite some time to make (similar to my confit garlic). So, in the interest of making this a quick recipe, I’ve used a shortcut instead by infusing olive oil. You can also use a fattier vegan oil like avocado oil! Bonus: taking this shortcut makes this Ethiopian cabbage recipe vegan!
I also use a cast iron skillet to make my Ethiopian cabbage (a Dutch oven would also work). Cast iron tends to distribute the heat more evenly, and works great for cooking hearty vegetables like carrots and potatoes. I’ve found it also helps infuse the broth better without burning the spices. Let me know if you decide to use a different pan!
Is this a really spicy dish?
No, not inherently! If you prefer your stew-like dishes to be spicy, you can add a habanero pepper like I usually do. Or if you prefer them to be hearty with a kick, but not terribly spicy, just leave them out!
What type of cabbage is best?
I’ve found that green cabbage (i.e. the one you normally find in the grocery store) works best for this Ethiopian cabbage recipe. However, I have seen this made with Napa cabbage before too! The final product will be crunchy, yet tender – just look at this beautiful skillet!
Can I make this in an Instant Pot?
If you’ll only believe me, it’s even simpler to make this in an Instant Pot. Infuse the oil first using the saute function of the Instant Pot, then add the vegetables and saute, then add the broth and pressure cook for 2 minutes. You’re all set. Serve and enjoy deliciousness.
What to serve with Ethiopian Cabbage?
Traditionally, Atakilt Wat is eaten with injera – which is a sour crepe made of a grain called teff. Working on a recipe for that – coming soon! However, in the meantime, you can eat this Ethiopian cabbage recipe with any flat bread or even rice (I know, I’m Indian, can you tell?) But my favorite way of eating it? Just ladle it in a bowl and dig in. No carbs needed!
Storage, freezing and reheating
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for about 4 to 5 days. Or, alternatively, you can also portion into smaller airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months! All the vegetables used here are quite hearty. Just make sure to thaw for 30 minutes before reheating on the stove.
If you want to try other African or cabbage recipes, check out:
This Ethiopian cabbage stew (Atakilt Wat / Atkilt Wot) is wholesome, hearty, vegan, and gluten free. Eat with any kind of flatbread or rice!
For Infused Oil
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp of minced garlic
- 1 tsp of ginger paste
- 2 tsp of turmeric (divided)
- 1 tsp of cumin powder
For Ethiopian Cabbage Stew:
- 1/2 medium red onion (diced)
- 3 medium carrots (diced)
- 1 medium potato (diced)
- 1 cup of water (or vegetable broth – see note for color differences)
- 1/2 head of cabbage, medium size (chopped finely)
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- Few sprigs of cilantro, optional (for garnish)
- In a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium flame
- After about 30 seconds, add minced garlic, ginger paste, 1 tsp of turmeric, and cumin powder – be careful to add before the oil gets too hot, otherwise it will splatter!
- Saute for 30 seconds to infuse the oil – when done, it should look dark throughout
- Now, add the chopped onion and saute for about 1 minute until the onion gets brown
- Then, add carrots, potatoes, water and turmeric and mix well to infuse with spices
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium flame. Then, open and check if the carrots and potatoes are cooked by piercing them with a fork. If not, cook for a few more minutes until they’re soft.
- Then, stir in the cabbage, add salt and pepper (to taste) and cook covered again until the cabbage is properly cooked, but not too long that it becomes mushy (I’ve found this takes roughly 5 minutes)
- Serve hot with rice or flatbread!
- Cabbage is one of those vegetables that tastes delicious even when it’s cooked minimally – cooking for 5 minutes softens the cabbage but still leaves a bit of the crunch
- Using vegetable stock or broth instead of water will result in a deeper color than a bright yellow (which you get if you just use water and turmeric) – both are totally okay, but good to note
- If going the more traditional route, instead of olive oil, use a clarified butter like ghee, and add the spices to it. Then, use 2-3 tbsp of this infused clarified butter instead.
- Category: Soups & Stews
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Ethiopian
Keywords: ethiopian cabbage, atakilt wat, atkilt wot