Mesir Wat (Ethiopian Red Lentils)

"This is from I haven't tried it yet. You can also use butter or niter kibbeh (spiced butter) instead of the olive oil. Serve with injera. You tear off a small piece of it and use that to scoop up the mesir wat. If you can't get ahold of injera and just want a healthy lentil dish, you could always put it over rice."
photo by Rita1652 photo by Rita1652
photo by Rita1652
Ready In:




  • Puree onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor or blender.
  • Heat oil, butter or niter kibbeh in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add turmeric, paprika and cayenne pepper and stir rapidly to color oil and cook spices through, about 30 seconds. Add onion puree and sauté on medium heat until excess moisture evaporates and onion loses its raw aroma, about 5-10 minutes. Do not burn.
  • Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and simmer till lentils are cooked through and fall apart, about 30-40 minutes. Add water if necessary to keep from drying out. This should be the consistency of a thick paste so that it can be scooped up with injera.
  • Stir in salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Mark S.
    Add 3-5 tablespoons of tomato paste, and 2-5 tablespoons of berere mixed spice and you are a spot on knock off of any restaurant's version.
  2. chloebe
    This came out delicious! The only thing is it took about 1.5 hours to boil off the liquid, but maybe my proportions were slightly off.
  3. evelynathens
    Such a tasty way to do red lentils. Not having injera, I made do with arabic pita bread. Thanks.
  4. Rita1652
    This was the main for our delish Menu #66720. I used Recipe #455044<br/>for the oil kicking it up a little more. Scooped it up with Recipe #140763. A nice healthy meal. Thanks. Made for ZWT 2011.
  5. Coasty
    This was just so tasty. I made the extra effort and made the niter kibbeh first, I think the addition of this spiced ghee gave the dish a spicy depth. This would be a good dish for those who say lentils are boring, just to prove them wrong. I served it with the injera and some cucumber salsa on the side. The only tweek was the addition of 1/2 tsp sugar - seemed to bring out the spices. Will be keeping this recipe. Made for ZWT 7. Thanks for posting Debbie R.



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