Misir Wot is a very spicy Ethiopian red lentil stew that’s not only healthy and delicious – it’s also FAST and EASY to prepare. This dish can be put together quickly for those nights when you need to make dinner in a flash. It’s seasoned with a complex spice blend called “berbere.” I use organic berbere by Frontier brand. It contains paprika, sea salt, cayenne, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and turmeric.
Try pairing Misir Wot with rice – or serve as part of a classic Ethiopian platter. Check out my recipe for Atakilt Wat (cabbage, carrot, potato stew) where I explain more about these combination platters.
- Saute onion, garlic, spices, and tomato paste
- Add lentils and water
- Simmer until the lentils are soft and breaking apart
Misir Wot (Ethiopian Spicy Red Lentils)
- large covered skillet
- 1-1/2 cups red lentils (or yellow lentils)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 3 Tablespoons berbere, such as Frontier brand
- 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
- Measure the lentils and then sprinkle them slowly into a mesh strainer; watch carefully for dirt, pebbles, or other debris. Once you’ve added all of the lentils to the strainer, pick through them making sure you didn’t miss anything. Rinse well under cold running water; drain while you continue with the recipe.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of onion. When it begins to gently sizzle, add the remaining onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic halfway through this step.
- Add the berbere spice and tomato paste; cook for about 30 seconds while stirring.
- Add the lentils and enough water to cover the lentils by about 1/2-inch. Bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Adjust the heat, if necessary, to keep at a simmer (don't boil).
- Cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are very soft and falling apart; stir often and keep adding more water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, if needed.Keep a watchful eye; don't let the lentils dry out and scorch the pan. When done cooking, the lentils should be wet and a bit mushy – but not watery.
This recipe can be prepared oil-free by following the instructions for cooking without oil.
Red lentils are traditionally used for this recipe; however, yellow lentils can also be used.
Aren’t they beautiful?!
Misir translates to lentil and wot means a stew made with onions and spices. It can also be spelled misir wat.
Yes, the legume family includes beans, peas, and lentils. Like with all legumes, they grow inside of pods, and are actually the plant’s seeds.
No, yellow split peas are field peas that are dried and then split. Yellow (and green) split peas take much longer to cook compared to yellow lentils.
In Indian cuisine, lentils are called dal.
It isn’t necessary to soak red or yellow lentils since they are so fast cooking.
Lentils cause the least amount of flatulence compared to other legumes. If you aren’t used to consuming legumes, start out with small portions to let your body adjust.