misir wat – ethiopian lentil stew

by Brittney

This delicious Ethiopian lentil stew or misir wat is my favorite way to enjoy red lentils! Flavored with berbere and simmered to perfection in a spicy mixture of tomatoes and onions, this lentil stew is sure to become a favorite!

After making a batch of Ethiopian spiced clarified butter or niter kibbeh for our doro wat (chicken stew) recipe, I’ve been looking for ways to use up the rest of the flavorful ingredient! And since my absolute favorite part of dining at Ethiopian restaurants is always the variety of lentils, I decided to try making misir wat or lentil stew at home. This dish calls for just a few tablespoons of niter kibbeh, but I’ve been making it so often that I think I’ll be needing to whip up another batch of the clarified butter very soon!

individual portion of ethiopian lentil stew

red lentil stew

Because a lot of the flavor for this recipe comes from the niter kibbeh, the only other spice you’ll need is berbere — a hot spice blend used in many Ethiopian dishes! We used this blend of berbere, but you can also make your own mixture at home. About two tablespoons of berbere was just right to give our dish the perfect amount of heat, but I would recommend adjusting the amount to taste as different brands and blends can vary in spiciness.

When it comes to cook time, that’s also a matter of preference. Red lentils cook faster than other varieties and you really only need about 20 minutes of simmering until they’re ready to enjoy. But to get the lentils to more of a creamy, stew-like consistency, I cook mine for about 40 minutes.

what to serve with misir wat

While injera (a spongy, fermented Ethiopian bread) would be ideal to serve alongside this stew, it’s not always easy to find where we live. And since I haven’t had time to experiment with making my own, we like to serve our misir wat alongside various types of flatbread or sometimes on top of a big bowl of rice. This last time we made this stew, we also toasted a bit of lavash bread and a threw together a  quick green salad with tomatoes, red onions and a drizzle of lemon juice!

lentil stew with collard green salad

For more vegetarian dinner ideas, check out these!

individual portion of ethiopian lentil stew

misir wat | ethiopian lentil stew

serves: 4 prep time: cook time:
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • niter kibbeh 3 tbsp
  • (to make this spiced clarified butter use our recipe here or buy it online)
  • onion 1 large
  • garlic 4 cloves
  • plum tomatoes 3 medium
  • tomato paste 2 tbsp
  • berbere 2 tbsp
  • red lentils 1 c (190 g)
  • vegetable broth 2.5 c (600 ml)
  • salt to taste


  1. Dice the onion. Mince the garlic and finely chop the tomatoes.
  2. Melt the niter kibbeh in a medium pot over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the diced onions and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Mix in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, berbere and lentils.
  6. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Check occasionally and add a bit of water or more broth if the lentils are getting too thick.
  7. Season with salt to taste.

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1 comment

YtheWait October 30, 2020 - 7:39 am



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