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Ethiopian Lentil Stew

ethiopian lentil stew
Ethiopian Lentil Stew

Ethiopian Lentil Stew

Ethiopian Lentil Stew, Mesir Wot, or Misir Wat, is a spicy Ethiopian lentil stew dish. It’s quite a simple dish, but very savory because of the Berbere Spice and other ingredients used. It is a Vegan/vegetarian dish.

Ethiopian Lentil Stew is a standard dish in Ethiopian cuisine. There are many variations, just as you find with Curry recipes in India. Many families have their versions based on what they might have on hand. Our version has all the traditional ingredients, except for using Ethiopian spiced butter, which is very difficult to find. In the West you find most versions using oil or unsalted butter.

Mesir Wat can be served as a side dish, or over rice which then makes it a main course. You can also serve it with Injera, which is Ethiopian flatbread, which is used to scoop up the lentils, or most dishes in Ethiopia, instead of using a fork or spoon as we use. You can also use Lebanese pita, which is thinner, a Naan bread or similar flatbread.

Serves 4

1 Cup Red Lentils
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 Large Onion, Chopped (about 2 cups)
1 Teaspoon Ginger Powder or 1 Tablespoon Peeled Minced Fresh Ginger
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Roma Tomato, Seeded & Chopped
1 to 1 ½ Tablespoons Berbere Spice, depending how spicy you want it.
4 Cups Vegetable Broth (Or Chicken Broth If You Prefer)
½ Teaspoon Sea Salt
Dried Cilantro, or Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro for garnish

Heat the Canola oil in a large sauce pan, over medium heat. Add the chopped onion. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until translucent and a nice golden brown. Stir occasionally so they cook evenly and don’t burn.

Add ginger and garlic; cook 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant. Stir frequently. Add the chopped tomatoes and Berbere spice. Mix in and cook another minute. Slowly pour in 3 cups of the broth, reserving the 4th cup. Stir to combine well. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.

Rinse lentils under cold water. Drain and add lentils to the mixture. Partially cover the pan and simmer for about 30 to 35 minutes until lentils are tender. Don’t overcook, or the lentils will get mushy. Stir occasionally. Add the additional cup of the broth if you need to adjust it to a stew-like consistency. When done, stir in the salt. Adjust the Berbere spice and salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the cilantro.

You can serve over rice, or just eat with the flatbread of your choice.