Fossolia (Ethiopian vegetable side dish)

Fossolia is an Ethiopian vegetable side dish starring green beans as its centrepiece. Unlike many other Ethiopian dishes, this one isn’t spicy, offering up a sweet complement to a complex meal. It’s really simple to make, using ingredients most people would expect to have at home, making it the perfect accompaniment to an Ethiopian spread.

Now, while I generally love my veggies with some bite in them, this dish demands they are cooked until they are very soft. And it works. While I had to move past my “no, you just can’t cook veggies for that long” bias, I must admit when veggies are cooked this soft, they develop a lovely sweetness.

Here’s how to whip up a deliciously comfort-foody veggie dish to complement an Ethiopian feast…

Flavour: Sweet, salty and savoury

Serves: 4 as a side dish


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (see here for how to mince garlic to a smooth paste)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, finely minced
  • quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 200g green beans
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (see here for how to peel a tomato)
  • 1 cup water
  • half teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper – to taste


  1. Fry off your onion with the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat
  2. Once your onions have started to colour up, add the garlic and ginger, stir, and fry for another minute
  3. Stir in the turmeric powder, and then toss in your beans and carrots – stir well, and fry for another minute
  4. Add your chopped tomatoes and salt, stir, and cook uncovered until the mixture is boiling
  5. Add half a cup of water, return the the boil, and then reduce heat to medium
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly – add the rest of the water little by little as you go
  7. After about 3o minutes the liquid will have evaporated and your veggies will be nice and soft – add some freshly ground black pepper, and remove from the heat
  8. Serve immediately with injera and other Ethiopian side dishes of your choice (for me, mesir wat goes without saying 😉 )

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