Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mesir Wat and Injera (aka Ethiopian Lentils and Flatbread)

Last month was "African" month... trying recipes from all over the continent - mainly from Western Africa (Ghana, Cameroon, Morocco).  SO delicious!

Here is a recipe for Mesir Wat, Ethiopian Lentils - sweet, spicy and delicious, served with injera, the staple flat bread.  African food is simply a revelation.

Technically speaking, injera should be used as a utensil and served with the lentils on top - eat it with your hands!  But of course, Daniel and I tried this once and then decided to use utensils.  :)

The lentils are great on plain rice, or even with naan, etc - if you'd rather buy some bread than make it.

A last note - most Ethiopian (or Eritrean) food uses a special spiced-infused-butter called Niter Kibbeh - I have made it before and it is excellent - however, to avoid the work of making it (you need to simmer whole spices in the butter for an hour) I have made a short cut - using ground spices and gently simmering them in butter for a couple minutes. 


Time: 45 min      |      Servings:  4      |      Difficulty: Low


2 cups red lentils
4 cups vegetable stock
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground fenegreek
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt, to taste

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup Teff flour
1.5 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
Oil for frying


In a pot, heat Earth Balance over medium heat - add all ground spices.  Stir continuously until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add onions and continue cooking until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. 

Bring heat to high, add lentils and stock.  Bring to a boil and turn down head to low to simmer.  Cover and allow to cook for 30 minutes, or until lentils are fully cooking.  You don't need to stir.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan on medium and drizzle oil (make sure the pan is well oiled; nonstick is ideal).  In a bowl, mix flours, baking powder, oil and water.  Mix until just combined - the consistency should be thinner than pancake mix so add more water if needed.

Pour a 1/2 cup into pan.  It will bubble.  You do not need to flip injera.  When the sides pop up and the top looks cooked, place aside.  Continue preparing the rest of batter this way.  Watch the heat; make sure it on medium or lower, as the bottom may burn if you don't watch.

Serve cooked lentils on top of injera and enjoy.

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