Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew



Our weekly potluck had an Ethiopian night.  My friend Adrienne cooked up a red lentil stew which is a staple in Ethiopian cuisine – this stew is called Mesir Wat (pronounced me-sir wot) is loaded with onions, ginger, garlic and lots of spices.  Most recipes call for berbere paste, a hot spice blend made of  chiles, paprika and too many spices to count. As berbere is not commonly found in most grocery stores, this recipe uses a combination of garam masala (an Indian spice blend), paprika, turmeric and tomato paste to replicate its flavor.  The rich blend of flavors is a real treat of the senses.


2 cups red lentils

1 large onion, chopped

3 tbsp oil or butter

2 tbsp fresh grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp paprika

1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp tomato paste

Salt and pepper


  1. Place a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add the oil or butter and chopped onions and saute for 3-5 minutes, until soft. Add the ginger and garlic and saute another 2 minutes.
  2. Next add the spices and tomato paste along with 2 tsp of salt. Mix well, then add the lentils and 6 cups of water.
  3. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Uncover and stir the lentils, then continue to cook uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until a thick porridge-like consistency is reached.
  5. Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s