Vegetables and Salads

Photo: Yataklete Kilkil - Ethiopia's Fresh Vegetables with Garlic and Ginger

Yataklete Kilkil

In Ethiopia, Yataklete Kilkil is traditionally served during Lent as a main course but it may be served as an accompaniment to any main dish. It is a popular dish selection for vegetarian at Ethiopian restaurants.

To serve 6

  • 6 small boiling potatoes, each about 3 inches long
  • 3 large carrots, scraped, cut lengthwise into quarters and then crosswise into 2-inch lengths
  • 1/2 pound fresh green string beans, trimmed, washed and cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium-sized onions, peeled, cut lengthwise in quarters, then separated into layers and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large green pepper, seeded, deribbed and cut into strips about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
  • 2 whole fresh hot chilies, each about 4 inches long, washed and stemmed (see note below on handling chilies)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 6 large scallions, including the green tops, trimmed, cut lengthwise in half and then crosswise into 2-inch lengths

One at a time, peel the potatoes and trim them into oval shapes, dropping them, as you proceed, into a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration. Then with a small, sharp knife, cut out narrow V-shaped wedges 1/4- inch deep at 1/2-inch intervals all around the length of the potatoes and return them to the water as each one is done.

When you are ready to cook the vegetables, first drop the potatoes with slotted spoon into enough lightly salted boiling water to cover them completely. Add the carrots and string beans and let the vegetables boil briskly, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Then drain them in a large collander and run cold water over them to stop their cooking. Set them aside in the colander to drain completely.

In a heavy 4- to 5-quarter casserole, heat the oil over moderate heat until a light haze forms above it. Add the onions, green pepper and chilies and, stirring frequently, cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft but not brown. Watch carefully for any sign of burning and regulate the heat accordingly. Add the garlic, ginger, salt and pepper, and stir for a minute or so.

Add the reserved potatoes, carrots and string beans, and the scallions to the casserole, and turn them about with a spoon until the vegetables are coated with the oil mixture. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but still somewhat crisp to the bite.

To serve, transfer the vegetables to a heated bowl with a slotted spoon.