A Taste of Ethiopia

A sweet and spicy salad perfect for fall


The average cook has about 15-20 recipes they recycle. I refuse to be part of the crowd. So, I’ve started to explore cuisine from other countries. Los Angeles, like New York, is a hotbed of culinary diversity. Not far away from my area (which, by the way is called “Little Persia”-I’ll write about that another time) is an area called “Little Ethiopia.” I’m assuming that any area that isn’t the entire country is considered ‘Little.’

Ethiopian restaurants are really fun. The only one I had been to was years ago when I lived on the Upper West Side in NYC. The one here was very similar. The décor was dark and exotic, we sat in chairs that looked and felt suspiciously like carved out tree trunks. Instead of silverware, you got to eat with your hands, using their wonderful flatbread to scoop out the stews. Ethiopian food is a fabulous mix of sweet and spicy, with lots of stews and interesting food and spice combinations.
I had an amazing salad there and this is a version of it. I love spicy food, but the original was so hot I could barely chew it, no less swallow! There a few mangos in my fridge and I made a few changes from the original salad recipe so it’s less hot and has the sweetness from the fruit. The mango marries well with the fiery jalapeno and bite of the red onion. The basic recipe is vegetarian, but I like protein in my meals, so the second time I made it. I added a pound of raw shrimp to the tomatoes while they were cooking and it was absolutely delicious! I eat this without flatbread, but feel free to use some. It’s pretty fun to NOT use utensils!

Persian Cucumber, Red Onion and Mango Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes (includes cooling time)
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Nutritional breakdown per serving:
Calories: 95      Carbohydrates: 16gr
Fat: 3gr             Fiber: 3gr
Sat fat: 0           Cholesterol: 0
Protein: 3gr      Sodium: 200mg

5 Persian cucumbers, sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 medium red onion, chopped small
½  tsp sea salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Olive Oil Spray
2 C chopped Roma tomatoes or grape tomatoes, cut in quarters
3 tbsp chopped unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
¼ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of ground cloves
1 large mango, ripe-peeled and chopped small
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime

Combine the cucumbers, onion, salt and garlic in a bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes or so. Spray large skillet with oil and heat over med-high flame. Add tomatoes, peanuts, jalapeno, coriander, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon and cloves. (and shrimp, if desired!). Sauté for about 5 minutes until tomato “melts” down and optional shrimp are no longer translucent. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Mix together cucumber portion with tomato mixture in a large bowl and stir. Add mango, cilantro and lime juice. Toss gently. Serve immediately or cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Mentioned in this article


  • Was this a Persian or Ethiopian Salad? The topic is about Ethiopian food which I found interesting, but the title of the recipe is Persian. Thanks for the author's input!

    Sep 14, 2011 at 3:48 PM

  • I think the term 'Persian' is just referring to the cucumber.

    Sep 14, 2011 at 5:14 PM

  • Snooth User: Leah Mansback
    Hand of Snooth
    555565 1,298

    This is a great recipe. I love Ethiopian food, best meal you can eat with your hands! I look forward to trying this recipe.

    Sep 14, 2011 at 5:20 PM

  • Snooth User: Rona Lewis
    359096 115

    Colleen, you're absolutely right! I happen to love Persian cucumbers because they have little seeds and are easier to digest. I probably should have eliminated "Persian" from the title. Wine Walker, I apologize for the confusion. When my head is wrapped around food (as opposed to wrapped IN food) I sometimes do silly things. Luckily, it doesn't affect the taste! Enjoy it and let me know what you think....

    Sep 14, 2011 at 5:43 PM

  • Snooth User: opq
    775134 17

    Rona, thanks for the recipe! I hadn't ever made any Ethiopian food (hadn't even thought of it) but this intrigued me so I made it tonight (including the shrimp). Love the spices! (The cinnamon really sets it off.) You can taste every element. For me, the shrimp didn't add anything taste-wise. I probably wouldn't add that again. (Tofu?) Fun & different---thanks!

    Sep 20, 2011 at 8:02 PM

  • Snooth User: Rona Lewis
    359096 115

    My pleasure. True, shrimp is a delicate addition, but I like to have protein in my food. Tofu....perhaps extra firm?

    Sep 21, 2011 at 8:42 PM

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