Try Something New: Atakilt Wat

By cancer-survivorship Nov 11, 2016


Being healthy doesn’t have to be boring or mean cooking the same foods over and over again. This is a traditional Ethiopian dish that is very delicious and healthy. “Atakilt” means vegetables and “wat” means sauce in Amharic, one of the traditional languages spoken in Ethiopia. This recipe contains many vegetables and spices that are functional foods, meaning they are not only nutritious but also aid in preventing or fighting certain types of cancer and diseases.
Cabbage, a cruciferous vegetable, helps stimulate the production of anticancer enzymes in the body which may reduce your cancer risk. Carrots contain beta-carotene which enhances immunity and slows cancer progression. Spices are a great way of adding flavor without adding calories or fat to your dish. Curry powder has an added benefit in that its main ingredient is curcumin which acts as an anti-inflammatory to fight cancer. Ginger may also be beneficial in that research has shown it has the ability to kill cancer cells.
Once you have tackled making this dish, the fun just begins. Now you must enjoy the technique for eating as well. Ethiopian people use food like we do… to come together and socialize. But at an Ethiopian table, food is shared from one common plate, signifying the bonds of loyalty and friendship. A large plate is brought to the table with injera spread across the bottom and the various foods served on top.
Injera is a spongy, flat, sour-tasting bread that is served at every Ethiopian meal and can be purchased at Ethiopain restaurants. It is gluten-free and made with teff whose bulk is bran and germ and is high in calcium, protein, iron, and fiber. Each person tears a piece of the injera from the plate and uses it to pinch the food and eat it, no utensils needed. Each meal usually ends with a cup of hot tea which is full of antioxidants that also help fight cancer. So be health and enjoy!


• 3-4 T. olive or canola oil
• 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
• 1 small head of cabbage, sliced
• 3-4 medium carrots, sliced
• 3-4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
• 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 (1-inch) piece fresh gingerroot, finely minced or grated
• 1. T. ground turmeric
• . tsp. curry powder
• . tsp. paprika
• 1 pinch ground cardamom
• 1-2 c. green beans (fresh or frozen), optional
• . c. filtered water
• Salt, to taste
• 1 T. clarified butter

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. As you chop them, add the onions, cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for no more than 1 minute. Stir in the spices and cook for a few seconds. Add the green beans and season with a little salt. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Remove the cover and stir well, then lower the heat, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced completely, about 25 minutes. Stir in the clarified butter (found in the ethnic section of grocery stores) and adjust the seasonings. Serve warm over injera.