Sunday, September 16, 2018

Vegan Mofo 2018 Post 13: Kulwha

Soy ground is seasoned to perfection next to lemon-garlic brown rice.
Eritrea is located in Northern Africa, with parts of its coast adjacent to the Red Sea-- coincidentally the ancient Greek definition of Eritrea. Although the country has no official language, Tigrinya is mostly spoken and written, seen as the de facto for national identity. Eritrea's cuisine has influences from Italy--their former conquerors-- for there is a tremendous penchant for tomatoes.
Also, I watched the delightful Life Is Fare at the Blackstar Film Festival this past summer-- it stars a first generation Eritrean, artist Sephora Woldu, who also wrote and directed.
Eritrea and Ethiopia (the Southern neighbor that has always had great plight) have quite similar cooking styles. For example, Kulwha (Eritrean stir fry) calls for berbere (Ethiopian spice) and nit'r kibbeh (spiced ghee very popular in Ethiopia). I made my own nit'r kibbeh using coconut oil as a basis as opposed to butter. Miyoko's Kitchen could have worked, but at the same time, I wanted a simple, cost effective solution. As for lamb (something that I never had), I always replace with soy ground. There are apparently vegan lamb varieties somewhere in existence as well as recipes for homemade seitan creations.
I quite enjoyed the process of making the nit'r kibbeh and prepping the overall meal. It is time consuming, a learning curve that ups the value of how we see our pantry ingredients (some of which we probably rarely use). Plus, it amazed me that one could get so much flavor into soy ground, enhance its properties into complex and intriguing to consume.

Kulwha Ingredients and Preparation

coconut nit'r kibbeh
1 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cardamom
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon fenugreek
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Lightlife Soy Ground
1/4 cup onion, sliced
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon coconut nit'r kibbeh
1 tablespoon berbere
1 teaspoon spice pulp*
pinch of salt

This coconut nit'r kibbeh is modeled after My Darling Gourmet's recipe with slight alterations to make less. 

Simmer coconut oil with ingredients for thirty minutes, stirring to keep from burning. Separate with sieve or strainer into an air-tight container, and place in refrigerator for four hours or longer until it becomes a golden yellow solid. Retain the spice pulp. But discard the cinnamon stick.

In a skillet, combine olive oil with soy ground, onions, coconut nit'r kibbeh, spice pulp, and salt.

Dinner is served.

Very tasty.


  1. I really love your Mofo posts! I feel like I'm learning so much, plus being introduced to many new to me dishes!!!

    1. Thank you!!!! I'm feeling the same way. It's been an amazing experience composing dishes, repurposing constantly used ingredients in a new, refreshing light.

  2. This looks amazing and certainly sounds like it was worth the time it took to prepare!

  3. I've made nit'r kibbeh in the past! There's a recipe in Vegan Eats World, and I just used Earth Balance. I should try the coconut oil, because I love that stuff. It made simple stir-fry meals so much more flavorful. Before my husband went vegan, he would use it when making scrambled eggs and loving it.

  4. This is so informative! I seriously love your posts.