Hamli (Sauteed Greens) from Bsrat M. on Vimeo.
I grew up in a household where meat or chicken was never the star at the table – just a complement to the vegetable dishes that were more plentiful. And Eritrean cuisine in particular, features tons of vegetable and legume dishes.
However, as a youngster during summer trips to Eritrea, I used to have a hard time eating as a guest in people’s homes. Guests are traditionally honored with several courses of meat, meat, chicken, and more meat. And with each course that appeared, I would be hoping that someone would bring out something green.
Of course, for a traditional Eritrean host, serving meat is the highest compliment. However, I am going to make sure to serve up tons of vegetarian recipes in this blog. For the next two posts, I’ll present recipes on how to make Eritrean sautéed vegetables. This first post will present hamli, or sautéed greens, and the second will present alicha, or vegetables sautéed with turmeric.
Hamli is ridiculously easy to make. And as sautéed greens are really a universal dish, you don’t need any suggestions about how to serve it.
I’m a little picky about my greens. Some Eritreans use collard greens, but I find its flavor a bit strong. I also find spinach a bit too watery. I prefer swiss chard or kale, which holds up to cooking temperatures better than spinach, but has a more pleasant flavor than other greens. Of course, please feel free to use whatever you prefer.