Ethiopian Cabbage, Potato and Carrot Stir-Fry

If you glossed over the word Ethiopian in the title of this dish and had only read the recipe, you probably would have thought it was an Indian dish.  And that would have been a pretty good guess.  Ethiopian cuisine is highly influenced by Indian spices and flavors and this dish definitely reminds me of one of my favorite recipes (spicy cabbage) from this Indian cookbook.

But this cabbage dish gets beefed up with some potatoes and carrots to help make things a bit more filling.  The original recipe didn’t include any heat, but I’m never one to miss an opportunity to spice things up.

It’s total comfort food with an added bonus of being chock-full of veggies and cancer-fighting spices like turmeric and ginger.  And considering that my usual comfort foods tend to be things like macaroni and cheese, cookies, and chocolate, I’m happy to add a healthier option to the list.


Ethiopian Cabbage, Potato and Carrot Stir-Fry

Yield: 4-6 servings


* 1/3 cup nit'ir qibe or vegetable oil
* 1 onion, thinly sliced
* 4 carrots, thinly sliced
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1-inch piece fresh, peeled ginger, minced
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 head cabbage, shredded
* 5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
* freshly ground black pepper, to taste
* berbere, to taste (optional)


Heat the nit'ir qibe or oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the carrots, garlic and ginger and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the cumin, turmeric, salt and cabbage and stir to coat the cabbage with the spices. Cook, stirring occasionally another 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes, stir to combine, and then cover. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are soft. Taste and add salt, if necessary, and black pepper to taste. If you'd like to add some heat, add berbere to taste.

Adapted from

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6 Responses to “Ethiopian Cabbage, Potato and Carrot Stir-Fry”

  1. #
    Anonymous — September 29, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    I love all of your recipes! I'm Eritrean-American and always look for east african recipes online..yours are dead-on! Just to clarify, Ethiopian cuisine is not influenced by Indian cuisine. There are some similarities but one is not connected to the other. Ethiopia is an ancient country that dates back to biblical times. Same goes for the cuisine!


    • CATE — September 30th, 2012 @ 5:46 am

      So glad you like the recipes! And thanks for the clarification :)


  2. #
    Robert — February 25, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Indian cuisine predates biblical times by several thousand years. Most of the a spices used in Ethiopian cuisine are native to India, not Ethiopia. So Ethiopian cuisine is indeed influenced by Indian cuisine.


    • dante — May 24th, 2016 @ 6:40 pm

      Some spices Indians use originated from Ethiopia. Botanical proof available. Also, current day South Indians have connection with Ethiopia and the flaw of immigration was from Ethiopia to India. Historical proof available. So there you go.


  3. #
    Kristen — August 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    A friend of mine made this last week and she said it was SO GOOD! So I made it tonight and it was incredible! The only things I added were bacon (in the beginning) and two Serrano peppers for heat. Such an incredible (and filling) dish!


    • Cate — August 20th, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

      So glad you and your friend liked it Kristen! I can only imagine how good it would be with bacon added in :)


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