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Mesir W'et - Spicy Ethiopian Lentil Stew

What you need: 

1 cup dried red lentils
1 onion, chopped
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
oil, for frying
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 tablespoon berbere or an additional 1 tablespoon paprika or 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
sea salt and pepper, to taste

What you do: 

1. Soak lentils for at least an hour in water. Drain and rinse and set aside. Saute onions and garlic in oil until golden.
2. Add broth or water. Add spices and tomato paste. When gently boiling, add lentils.
3. Turn down heat and simmer until lentils are tender and it's a thick stew, adding more liquid if needed. Serve with rice, Injera bread or pita bread.
This is a recipe that I've tweaked to perfection and everyone asks me to bring to any potluck or party. If you can find a market that sells berere (a spice blend) it will taste more authentic. You can find recipes for the spice blend online or see the recipe for substitutes if you are in a hurry. This is usually served with injera, a flat pancake like bread. If you can't find that you could serve this with rice or pita bread.

Preparation Time: 
Cooking Time: 
Servings: 
2-4
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

What kind of greens did you add in that picture?  It looks fabulous but I've never had Ethiopian food (sadly) and don't know what greens would work.

I can't quite remember what I used that time, but those would be either collard greens or Swiss chard (I'm thinking the former). I really don't know what would be "authentic" for this type of dish, but I often like to add whatever greens I have on hand, just to boost nutritional content and add more colour/texture.

I went to my co-op specifically to hunt down and buy berbere for this dish, and I'm glad I did!
Since I'm not too experienced with making Ethiopian cuisine, I decided to stick to the recipe, spice quantities and all, as close as I could. As I mentioned above, though, I just felt the need to add some greens in with the stew...but that was my only modification, and I'm sure this dish would be just as good without them.
Oh, and I buy split red lentils that cook up very quickly, so I didn't soak mine.

This reminded me of an Indian dal, but with a very interesting and unfamiliar flavour. It was SO yummy and pleasantly filling.
My only suggestion would be to double the recipe if You want Your leftovers to last more than half a day.  ;D

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What kind of greens did you add in that picture?  It looks fabulous but I've never had Ethiopian food (sadly) and don't know what greens would work.

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Filling, hot, and flavorful. Loved it. I think this will be good with some carrots next time.

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This was good. I think it would've been much better had I had berbere. I tried to make a berbere substitute from a cookbook I had (cumin, cloves, cinnamon, cayenne, etc) but it didn't taste like Ethiopian food I've had in restaurants. But then again, who am I kidding, I can't cook Indian food like in restaurants but it still makes me happy. I'll probably try this again with some berbere, and I'll probably add more water/broth and let it cook more. I did soak the lentils, but I still had to add about 3/4 C water so they'd cook all the way through.

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I used some of the spices I had on had to make something that resembled the spice blend recommended here (cloves, allspice, ginger , coriander and cayenne pepper, and the result was delicious! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

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I forgot to soak my lentils, so I had to add extra liquid. I cooked it over a heat diffuser to stop it sticking. Delicious! I served it over brown rice and it is hearty and warming.

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Good recipe; we added a tablespoon of hot cayenne pepper, which made it too spicy for us.  >:D next time we will use milder cayenne pepper or less of the hot. If it was not so hot, we probably would have rated it a 5.

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