So, I finally hunted down some berbere (you know, through the wild and raucous aisles that are known as Amazon) and I'm now able to make myself some "Ethiopian" food. It's probably not authentic at all, but it has a sort of taste that I'm looking for. Or maybe it is kind of authentic. I'm not really sure. Anywho, this is my recipe for Mesir Wat, which is a lentil stew. I added berbere to this so it's probably more like kik wat... but with lentils. I have no idea. This is why I need a copy of Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food.
To round out this meal, I served it with sautéed spinach (no collards on hand, otherwise I would have tried my hand at Ye'abesha Gomen. I love me some greens) and leftover potatoes that I cut up and sautéed in some coconut oil. Good idea, by the way!
I used red lentils, which normally cook pretty quickly, but I wanted to get this stew nice and thick so I simmered it about an hour. Just FYI. Oh, and most recipes for mesir wat contain a fair amount of oil. What you do is simmer the onion and the spices in the oil before you ever add the lentils. I might try that next time, but for now I just sautéed the onions and spices in about one tablespoon of oil.
1 c. split red lentils, rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tb. neutral-flavored oil
1/2 Tb. coconut oil
1 Tb. berbere
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. hot paprika
4 c. water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil over medium heat until soft and golden, about 10-12 minutes. You want to cook it a little slower than usual.
2. Add the berbere, cumin, and paprika and let it cook another 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the lentils and the water. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 45-1 hour. I used medium-low. You want to cook it until it's nice and thick, without a lot of extra water.
3. Before serving, stir in 1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste). Enjoy!
This will make four small-ish servings at around 206 calories, 4.5 g. fat, and 11.7 grams protein. The small serving is good if you have some sautéed greens and a starch (like potatoes, millet, or injeera to go with it). Otherwise, I'd go ahead and serve up two!
Anywho, next week I'm flying down to Athens, Georgia and I hear there are some very good vegetarian/vegan places down there. Athens is nothing like the town I currently live in. They have hummus places and brunch places and coffee places and Indian and Thai places (and that's just the food!). I'll have to let you all know what I try out. Have a great afternoon!