Karyn's Spicy Ethiopian Lentils

RedLentilsGive this easy spin on an Ethiopian classic - Miser Wat - a try. You can thank us later! About this Recipe: Spicy Ethiopian Lentils

Karyn Bridges learned how to make this dish from her good friend, Rosa, when living in Ethiopia in 2009 and 2010.


  • 1.5 cups of uncooked red lentils
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil (Karyn uses olive, but any vegetable oil will work)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Berbere spice – 1 T is hot and 2 T will light you on fire! (you can find berbere from somewhere like Penzeys Spices)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • Salt to taste


  • Rinse lentils until water runs clear
  • Put onion and ¼ cup water in large pan and heat over medium-high heat until water evaporates (keep and eye on this because onions will burn if left unattended after water is gone)
  • When water is almost fully evaporated, reduce heat to medium and add 1/3 cup oil. Allow the oil to come to a boil.
  • Once oil is boiling, add berbere, garlic, and salt, stirring frequently. Allow this mixture to cook for about 2 minutes so flavors can combine.
  • Add lentils to oil mixture and stir to fully coat. Stir in 1.5 cups water and bring to boil, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat to low and cover. Allow lentils to simmer for approximately 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep them from sticking.
  • Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes and then serve as a side dish or make it a meal.



The Ethiopian berbere spice can be found at African or India Marts in most major cities so check your local ethnic market for the spice. If you have a local Ethiopian restaurant then most definitely ask your waiter where they purchase their berbere.

You can also Google “berbere spice” and find an online vendor that sales berbere such as www.spicesinc.com

***I bring home berbere from Ethiopia so I cannot personally comment on the quality or authenticity of the berbere sold online.


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