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Spicy Misir Wot (Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew)

Red lentils in a bowl with Berbere spices and lemon slices.

3.7 from 3 reviews

Tantalize your taste buds with the amazing flavor of fragrant and spicy Misir Wot, Ethiopian red lentil stew with Berbere spice blend.


Units Scale
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions diced (about 2 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 -3 tablespoons Berbere spice blend
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and sorted (I prefer split lentils, but you can use whole)
  • 4 cups water



  1. Preheat a large pot over medium heat, then add the onions. Cook the onions until they start to become translucent and brown. If the onions begin to stick, add water a tablespoon at a time.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to coat everything in the spices for about 30 seconds to a minute.
  3. Immediately, add ½ cup of water to deglaze the pan.
  4. Add the tomatoes and allow them to cook and break down for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add 2 cups of lentils, 4 cups of water, and 2-3 tablespoons of the Berbere spice blend. Mix everything, cover the pot, and allow the lentils to simmer until they are tender (15-20 minutes). Add more water, ½ cup at-a-time if the lentils are not tender after the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Season with salt and pepper if desired. 


  • This recipe calls for split red lentils. They cook faster and have a creamier texture than whole red lentils. If you use whole lentils, allow an additional 10-15 minutes (or more) of cooking time. Monitor the water and add more if needed. Cook until the lentils are tender.
  • We highly recommend a homemade Berbere spice blend. You’ll need a spice grinder and a skillet for the whole spices. It makes enough for this recipe, several Ethiopian dishes, or another Ethiopian red lentil stew.
  • To make this in the Instant Pot, cook the lentils on High Pressure for 5 minutes with 15 minutes of natural pressure release (NPR). 


Keywords: misir wot, misir wat, Ethiopian lentils,