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Vegan Ethiopian Red Lentils Mesir Wat Recipe

Misr Wat or Mesir Wat is a vegan Ethiopian stew made from red split lentils and the famous Ethiopian Berbere spice mix. Some Ethiopians, for religious reasons, eat an exclusively vegan diet, and many eat vegan dishes on special 'fast' days. This explains the abundance of vegetarian and vegan specialties. Ethiopian cuisine is one of the most flavoursome cuisines in Africa, and this red lentil stew is no exception. You can of course use a ready-made, shop-bought Berbere since mix, but I promise you that if you make your own, you will be rewarded by a rich and complex tantalising flavour that is well worth the small effort of assembling the all very common ingredients (except perhaps the fenugreek, just leave it out if you have trouble sourcing it) needed to make your own Berbere spice mix. Misr Wat is traditionally served with Injera, a soft sourdough flat bread, but you can also enjoy it with a crispy green salad.

Customer Rating:
5.0 (13 votes)

Posted by: michael




30 - 60 mins

Skill Level




Courses etc.

Main Courses

You will need

For the Berbere spice mix :
2 tsp cumin seeds More products
1 tsp coriander seeds More products
1 tsp fenugreek seeds More products
1 tsp cardamon seeds (the black seeds inside, from about 1 Tbsp whole cardamon pods) More products
5 cloves More products
10 black peppercorns More products
5 dried bird's eye chillies OR
1 dried larger chilli of a milder variety More products
4 Tbsp or 1/4 cup paprika More products
1 Tbsp Cayenne pepper More products
1 tsp garlic powder More products
1 tsp ground ginger More products
1/4 tsp nutmeg More products
For the Misr Wat :
1 heaped cup or 250g red lentils More products
2 Tbsp olive oil More products
1 red onion More products
4 cloves garlic More products
1 inch fresh ginger More products
3 to 4 Tbsp Berbere spice mix
1 tsp sea salt More products
3 cups water or as needed
1 lemon OR More products
1 lime

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fresh coriander leaves, optional

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Need help converting measurements? View our recipe measurement conversion tables here.


  • Start by making the Berbere Spice Mix :
  • Gently dry roast the whole spices : cumin, coriander, fenugreek, cardamon sees, cloves, black peppercorns and dried chilli(es) until fragrant.
  • Then, grind the roasted spices using a pestle and mortar or a spice mill, or a coffee mill.
  • Transfer to a small to medium sized bowl and mix in the ground spices : paprika, Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, ground ginger and ground nutmeg. This will give you more Berbere than you need for this recipe ; use more or less depending on your taste, and store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge until your next Ethiopian cooking session.
  • Now let's make the Misr Wat :
  • Finely chop the red onion, crush the garlic cloves and peel and grate the ginger.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and stir fry the chopped onion over medium heat for about 4 minutes or until it starts to become translucent. Then add the crushed garlic and grated ginger and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
  • Then add the lentils and the desired amount of Berbere and stir well, before adding the water and salt.
  • Allow to cook, covered, until the lentils are soft, adding more water if needed.
  • Serve with a wedge of lime or lemon and a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander leaves.

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Cumin Seeds ORGANIC
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Coriander Seeds ORGANIC
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Whole Fenugreek
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Whole Green Cardamom ORGANIC
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Whole Cloves ORGANIC
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Black Peppercorns ORGANIC
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Whole Chillies
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Paprika Powder ORGANIC
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Cayenne Chilli Pepper Powder
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Ground Ginger
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Ground Nutmegs
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Red Split Lentils ORGANIC
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Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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Red Onions ORGANIC
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Fresh Ginger ORGANIC
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Pink Rock Salt Fine Himalayan
Salt Seller (300g)
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Fresh Coriander ORGANIC
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