Rich, spicy flavorful vegetarian stew perfect for picking up in little mouthfuls with injera. Make life easier on yourself and pre make the spiced butter, spice mix, and ferment a batch of injera up. I’ve provided all the recipes. When you have the Ethiopian cuisine basics in place it's easy.
What makes this recipe work?
Letting the onions develop a rich sweetness through a long 20 minute saute.
Fresh ground whole spices
Plenty of garlic and ginger
Tomato paste adds depth.
It’s not too hot, you can taste the food instead of running from the room, although if you like more heat add it.
Adequate salt, and use sea salt please.
Pinch the salt in with your fingers so you can see it, don’t use a salt shaker.
Salt until the clear flavors of the spices and vegetables come up. Then stop, balance the flavors again and taste again for salt, once it melts into the food, instead of laying on top-- it’ll taste different.
Balancing flavors: taste first maybe it’s already perfect, maybe more salt, more spice, a little acid, and sweet. Each time you add, and just a little at a time, remember you can add more but you can’t take it out--the flavors become clearer. You want to taste the clear flavors of the food, not salt, sour or sweet predominating, but they will help your tongue to find the truth.
What to serve it with?
Injera, of course. The dark tones of teff really compliment the spicy stew.It needs a green with hardy bitter notes, like sauteed collards or kale. Something creamy like a fresh cottage cheese. Maybe a tomato and cucumber chopped salad with just salt. Perfect, stop.
This stew freezes well. Freeze in small containers and enjoy with freshly made injera for lunch or a quick dinner. This is also an excellent large crowd stew, with or without other Ethiopian foods. Is a brilliant recipe for school lunches.
Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew Makes 2 quarts Ingredients 2 cup red lentils washed and drained 1 quart water (shy of a litre) ¼ cup nit'r qibe (Ethiopian Spiced Butter) 2 large onions, small dice (5 cups, 750g) 6 cloves garlic, fine mince (35g) 2 tablespoons fresh ginger fine mince (15g) I mince garlic and ginger together in food processor 4 tablespoons. berbere (Ethiopian Spice Mix) (20g) or to taste. 2 teaspoons sea salt 4 tablespoons tomato paste (60g) *Adjust With After Stew's Done* Sea salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon more Apple cider vinegar about 2 tablespoons Mineral rich sugar about 1 tablespoon Hot Chili Sauce 1 teaspoon
Rinse lentils well and set aside Heat spiced butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. I use cast iron. Add the diced onions and saute until caramelized 20 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant-1 minute or so Add berbere, and some water to make a sauce Add lentils, 2 teaspoons salt and rest of water, bring to the boil and then turn to a low simmer, cover and stir occasionally until lentils have fallen apart and taste smooth instead of chalky--about 30 minutes. Lentils should have ⅛ inch of liquid over them while simmering, add water as needed, but let stew thicken Add tomato paste and simmer a little longer until melded. Check seasoning and adjust with Sea salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon more Apple cider vinegar about 2 tablespoons Mineral rich sugar about 1 tablespoon Hot Chili Sauce 1 teaspoon Taste, taste, taste until it’s right! Note: Don’t be put off by the the long onion sauté, get them going first and use the time to get everything else ready to put in, and clean up. It's just the perfect amount of time. Stir onions as you work. With Love Enjoy
Whether it rains or stops raining lentils have two eyes