I was craving lentils today so I decided to make misir wat. Misir wat is an Ethiopian lentil stew that is easy to make and has an incredible depth of flavour. Lentils are also nutritious. They’re a great source of protein, fiber, iron (which I really need), folate, and vitamin B6. If you’re a vegetarian or if you’re like me and like to have meatless meals during the weekdays, then this is a great dish to have in your meal rotation.
To make misir wat, you’ll need niter kibbeh which is a spiced clarified butter. I have posted my recipe for niter kibbeh here. You’ll also need berbere spice which you can probably find at an African grocery store or on Amazon. You can also make your own (recipe here). Berbere spice is a hot spice blend so use less than the amount that I’ve listed in this recipe, if you want a milder stew. You can also use more tomato paste than I’ve listed in the recipe to make the stew less spicy. Misir wat is often served with injera or rice. The instructions for making this stew are on the recipe card below. I’ve slightly changed the recipe from when I first posted it to enhance the flavour of the stew. Enjoy!
Misir Wat (Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew)
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 2 medium onions (minced; you can use red or yellow onions)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tsp ginger (minced)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp niter kibbeh
- 1 tbsp berbere spice
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2¾ cups vegetable broth (you might need to add more broth depending on how thin you want the stew to be)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- salt (to taste)
- 2 sprigs cilantro (for garnish)
- Coarsely chop the onions and use a food processor to mince the chopped onions.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the niter kibbeh over medium heat.
- Add the onions, garlic and ginger, and cook for 15 minutes or until the mixture turns to a puree. Turn the heat to low once the mixture starts to boil and stir the mixture while it's cooking to prevent burning.
- Add the black pepper and all the other spices, cook for 1 minute; continue to stir the mixture to prevent burning.
- Wash the lentils with water in a sieve over the sink. Add the lentils, tomato paste, broth, and salt to the onion mixture in the pot. Mix the ingredients together. Turn the stove to medium heat, cover the pot and bring the stew to a boil.
- Once the stew starts to boil, turn the heat to low and let the stew simmer on low heat for 35 minutes or until the lentils are soft and the broth is reduced to your liking. Gently stir the stew occasionally as it cooks and add more broth if the stew gets too thick for your liking.
- Serve with injera or rice.