Ethiopian Spicy Lentils – Misir Wot



What feels like many moons ago, I spent the most amazing 6 weeks touring the majestic country of Ethiopia. Every now and again I like to recreate this period of my life by preparing traditional Ethiopian vegan food. Misir wot, spicy red lentil stew, being one of them.  This dish is very simple to prepare but full of flavour thanks to the exquisite Berbere spice. If you like heat and fancy trying something new this dish is for you! Serve with injera, a fermented flatbread, or with rice. Utterly satisfying.


Misir Wot

Prep: 5 mins   Cook: 45 mins  Servings: 2-3


  • 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • 1 tbsp berbere spice (medium-hot)*
  • 1 cup (180g) red lentils (washed thoroughly until the water is clear)
  • 1 1/2 cups (350ml) water
  • salt to taste


  1. Add oil and onions to a medium sized pot. Saute for 3-5 mins stirring occasionally so not so stick.
  2. Add garlic, tomatoes, berbere spice and a pinch of salt. Stir, cover with a lid and cook for 10 mins until spices cook thoroughly. Stir occasionally.  If the mixture becomes dry a few tablespoons of water.
  3. Add washed, drained lentil and stir well to combine ingredients. Cook for 3-5 mins.
  4. Add water and cover with a lid. Cook for 25-30 mins until lentils are thick and tender. Stir occasionally.
  5. Enjoy with Injera (Ethiopian fermented flat bread) or rice with a side of sauteed kale or a salad.

Note: * berbere spice can be very hot so you may need to adjust to taste. For example: mild (1/2 tbsp bereber), medium- hot (1 tbsp berbere), very hot (2 -3 tbsp berbere).  Misir Wot is typically a red-orange colour. To enhance the colour without increasing the heat add equal parts of paprika.

You can purchase authentic berbere spice from Ethiopian restaurants or grocery shops.