This year, the Fun Food Feed will be sharing our most loved whole-plant recipes, we’ve developed over the years. Each month, we will publish a favorite recipe.
This month’s featured recipe is for Mesir Wat Lentil Stew.
Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, CA is home to many things, but upon hearing its name, what immediately comes to mind for me, is “Little Ethiopia.”
“Little Ethiopia” is a mandatory stop, whenever I visit LA. And the first stop is Rahel’s.
Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine Restaurant has a renowned buffet, with a salad, house made dressing and fruit bar, hot bar with a colorful array of 6+ dishes, both teff and teff-wheat injera, and an assortment of house made hot sauces. And cashew cheesecake for dessert!
While all the dishes are delicious, the mesir wat (lentil stew) is, hands down, the most flavorful and hearty. Thick with caramelized red onions and berbere spice, it balances the tart nuttiness of the teff injera. Add a bite of tomato salad, and a dash chili sauce, and arguably reach perfection.
Just across the street is the Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant Market. Shelves are stacked high with all the spices, legumes, flour and injera one needs to create their own buffet at home.
MESIR WAT LENTIL STEW
Preparation Time: 120 minutes
Yield: 6-12 servings
Measuring cups and spoons
Large, heavy-bottomed pot
Flat-bottomed metal spatula
2 onions, finely chopped
4-8 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled & minced
1 cup very thick tomato sauce, or tomato paste
2-6 Tablespoons berbere spice
1 pound red lentils (can sub brown lentils)
4 cups water (or vegetable broth)
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: favorite neutral tasting vegetables, cubed, like eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower
- In large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, on low-medium heat, sauté onion with a a couple Tablespoons water, until softened and caramelized, ~20-30 minutes (being careful not to burn). Add additional Tablespoons of water, as needed, to periodically deglaze pan.
- Add garlic, ginger, tomatoes and berbere, and cook ~20 minutes, stirring occasionally (being careful not to burn). Add Tablespoons of water, as needed, to periodically deglaze pan.
- Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat, until lentils are cooked through and fall apart, ~30-40 minutes. Add water, as needed, to keep from drying out. The stew should be the consistency of a thick paste, so that it can be scooped up with injera flatbread.
- Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over injera flatbread, with optional tomato and lettuce salads, curried vegetables or greens.