Simple Recipe for Misir Wot (Ethiopian Lentil Stew)

Here is another simple everyday dish that everyone can put their own spin on. Lula learned this version from her auntie, whom she often stayed with as a child. She makes the best misir wot ever. (Shhh—just don’t tell her mom she said that!) Try this recipe for Lula’s recipe for Misir Wot and enjoy this warming Ethiopian lentil stew as the weather begins to dip!


Serves 4–6
1 cup red lentils
1 medium yellow onion,
3 cloves garlic, diced
⅔ cup vegetable oil (or olive oil)
3 tablespoons berbere
1 cup water


Place the lentils in a medium pot and add enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir and then cook until the lentils are al dente, about 5 minutes. You don’t want them fully cooked or mushy. Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside.

In a separate medium pot, place the onions, garlic, and oil and cook over medium heat until the onions and garlic are translucent and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Next, stir in the berbere, making sure it does not clump up. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.

When the water reaches a boil, stir in the lentils. Turn down the heat to low, add salt to taste, and stir. Cover the wot (stew) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are fully cooked, 15–20 minutes.

Serve hot with injera, rice, or your favorite whole grain bread.

Note: The milder version of this dish is called misir alicha wot (mild lentil stew) — የምስር አልጫ ወጥ. Simply use 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric instead of the berbere and follow the recipe as above.

Recipe by Luladey Moges from Enebla: Recipes from an Ethiopian Kitchen, text copyright © 2022 by Luladey Moges.

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