Berbere Lentils - Yemisir Wat
Originally published August 28, 2017. Updated on 7/1/2021
As you may know from previous blog entries - and social media posts! - we recently attended Folklorama, in Winnipeg.
It's my absolute favourite event every year, and has been kind of ... therapeutic?... since moving to the USA.
Anyway, I'm planning to do a write-up on it eventually, but in the meantime, back to today's recipe!
The Ethiopian Pavilion is a must-stop for us, every time that we make the trip for Folklorama. It's not as big and flashy as many of the other pavilions, but what it DOES have is some of the absolute best food of the entire festival.
After returning from the trip this year, Porter requested that I figure out Ethiopian cooking - ESPECIALLY the firey lentils that he loves.
So, I did a bunch of research and put together recipes for both the berbere seasoning (which seems to vary wildly, based on who makes it!), and the lentil dish named for the seasoning. Made a batch, LOVED it.
Couple days later, I get the following photo and a text of "YOU FINISHED THE LENTILS!?" from my husband:
... So I made another batch, and decided that I should probably blog the recipe. HIGHLY addictive stuff, this is!
How to Make Berbere Spice
First off, you'll need to make the Berbere Seasoning (Yemisir Wat recipe is below it!).
This makes more than you'll need for the lentils recipe, but is great in almost anything that could use a kick. Try it as a dry rub on chicken wings, as a seasoning for steak or burgers, or as a popcorn seasoning!
½ cup Whole Dried Chilies (Packed!)
1 tablespoon Coriander Seeds
1 teaspoon Cardamom Seeds
½ teaspoon Black Peppercorns
5 Whole Cloves
2 tablespoon Sweet Paprika
1 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
¼ teaspoon Allspice
¼ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
How to Make Berbere Seasoning
Measure chiles, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, and cloves into a dry, nonstick pan.
Toast over medium heat, stirring constantly, until aromatic. Remove from heat, allow to cool.
In a spice grinder, process toasted spices into a fine powder. Allow to spices to settle a bit before opening the grinder – the powder can be irritating to the lungs and nasal passages!
Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add remaining spices to the bowl, stir well.
Store in an airtight container until use.
Berbere Seasoning Nutrition
Calories: 18kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 263mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1544IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
More Seasoning & Condiment Recipes
Looking for some tasty ways to add a little something extra to your dish? Here are a few ideas:
Canadian Popcorn Seasonings
Candied Ginger, Ginger Syrup, Ginger Sugar
Diana Sauces (Replica Recipes)
Homemade Hop Extracts
Homemade Seasoned Salt
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Honey Dill Dipping Sauce
Honey Garlic Cooking Sauce
Hoppy Dill Pickle Relish
How to Make Compound Butters
Montreal Steak Spice & Marinade
Porter's Yogurt & Ice Cream Topping
Roasted Beet Ketchup
Smoky Dry Rub for Wings
Sushi Sauce Recipes
Tangerine Thyme Dry Rub
Thai Cilantro Pesto
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Berbere Lentils - Yemisir Wat
- ½ cup Canola oil
- 2 Medium Yellow Onions finely chopped or grated
- ⅓-1/2 cup Berbere seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Ginger Puree
- 1 tablespoon minced, pressed, or pureed garlic
- 1 cup Dried Red Lentils
- 3+ cups Water
- Salt and Pepper
- In a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, cook onions in canola oil until soft.
- Add Berbere (Start with ⅓ cup if you’re not used to this!), ginger, garlic, and lentils, stir well. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil.
- Once mixture boils, turn heat down to medium or medium-low. Simmer lentils – stirring frequently – until water is absorbed and lentils are mushy. Remove from heat.
- Taste, add more Berbere if you’d like, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot, with injera.