Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mesir Wat-Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew

Ethiopian cuisine is rich with spicy dishes almost similar to Moroccan and Indian and is rich with vegetarian dishes especially with lentils and pulses.Wat or Wot implies a spicy thick stew which is usually made with spiced clarified butter -nitter kibbeh or ghee with ginger garlic and other spices.Mesir wat is a red lentil stew that is usually served with Injera - Ethiopian flat bread made usually from teff flour.This is again a simple recipe I adapted from here.The dish is similar to and can be mistaken for Indian preparation unless specially mentioned as Ethiopian and can also be served with tortilla,rotis or pita or any bread you have in hand.

Ingredients:
Red Lentils: 1/2 cup

Onion: 1 medium
Garlic: 1 -2 cloves
Ginger: 1 inch piece

Butter/Oil or Nitter Kibbeh :1 tbsp

Paprika: 1/2 tsp +
Cayenne Pepper (Chilli Powder):1/2 tsp+
Turmeric: a pinch

Water/Veg Stock

Salt
Pepper

Preparation:
Pick,wash and soak the lentils in water for about 30 minutes.

Puree together onion,ginger and garlic adding very little or no water to a fine paste.

Heat the oil/butter/nitter kibbeh in a deep dish pan,and add the spice powders of Paprika,turmeric and chilli powder(cayenne pepper). Saute till the raw smell goes.This takes just seconds and you can switch off gas while doing this so that the powders are not burned.

Once this is done,add the onion-ginger-garlic paste and cook it stirring for a few minutes till the raw smell goes.

Add the lentils to the pan along with little ,salt,pepper and water/stock as needed to cook them.Bring to a boil,reduce to low and let it simmer till the lentils are thouroughly cooked usually 15-20 minutes.Keep on adding water/stock as needed to prevent them from burning out and continue cooking till your required gravy consistency is reached.

Serve hot with your choice of bread or even as a soup.




Hearty Ethiopian dal,well that what I felt,can be even enjoyed as itself as a soup.This is just one version of the dish as a google check revealed the addition of tomato puree in some versions.If interested do add 1/2-1 tbsp of tomato paste to the above version along with lentils for a tangy taste.Red Lentils is known as masoor dal as well.Also paprika can be replaced with deggi mirch powder in India or any mild chilli powder.If made with split peas or peas parippu then the mesir wat comes to be known as shiro wat.

Anyway the mesir wat is on way to AWED:African Cuisine,an event by DK and currently hosted by PJ.The dish also travels to MLLA#22 at Ruchika Cooks, an even by the WellSeasoned Susan.


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