Ethiopian style red lentils

The other day we went to an Ethiopian place in Chicago, following a grand excursion to the Lincoln Park Zoo. The red lentils were soooo good. This is my attempt to recreate the dish. 


2 onion

2 c. red lentils

4 T olive oil

5 clove garlic

2 square inches fresh ginger

1 t turmeric

1 t paprika

1 t coriander

1 t cayenne

1/2 t cinnamon

3 oz. tomato paste

sea salt


Toasted spice mixture:

1 t fenugreek seeds

1 t cumin seeds

3/4 t cardamom seeds

3 cloves

8 peppercorns


Put the spice mixture ingredients in a little iron pan and toast on medium high about three minutes. Dump spices into a bowl and allow to cool. When spices are cool to the touch grind in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle.


Rinse the lentils well and set them aside. Chop onion and saute in the oil in a big heavy pot. Chop the garlic and finely chop or grate the ginger. When the onion has cooked for ten minutes on medium heat, add garlic, ginger, cayenne and turmeric stir for three minutes and add lentils. Stir and saute the lentils for a couple of minutes then add 6 c. water, the ground spices and the tomato as well as paprika- bring to a boil then simmer about 50 minutes. Add sea salt to taste. Serve with rice or flat bread.