Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew


Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew

Adapted from Cooking Light May 2010

I was given a large stack of cooking magazines, which meant many new recipes to try out. That’s always exciting. It being late October, I was in the mood for a nice, heart-warming stew. This recipe, inspired by a dish served at Etete (a restaurant in D.C.), looked promising. I was right!

Yields 4 servings


  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried ground ginger, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried small red lentils
  • 4 cups hot cooked rice


  1. In a small bowl, combine the cloves, 1 teaspoon of ginger, coriander and allspice. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the tomato purée and spice blend. Cook 1 minute, stirring to combine. Gradually add the broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the lentils to the broth mixture and simmer, partially covered for 35 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve the stew over the rice and sprinkled with some parsley or cilantro.


Comments: This is an incredibly easy recipe though it does take some time, like any stew. We all really enjoyed it, including my father who is not a fan of lentils. Though it has very few ingredients, the stew is very flavorful with the combination of spices. The original recipe calls for 1½ tablespoons of Berbere spice (mixture of dried chiles, cloves, ginger coriander and allspice); since I did not have this, I made my own blend but if you find Berbere spice feel free to use it instead of making your own blend. The recipe also says to use basmati rice; for my parents, who prefer white rice, I made regular white rice and for myself I made Minute’s Multi-Grain Medley. Use whatever type of rice you prefer.

Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew, close up


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