Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew with Niter Kibbeh

The two main seasonings for this recipe are Niter Kibbeh and Beriberi (both of which there are multiple ways to spell and pronounce). Beriberi is a spice mixture made up of cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, fenugreek and various other spices. It is sold at The Holy Land Deli and can also be found at most African grocery stores. If you want to try mixing your own beriberi, just Google it and pick a recipe.

Niter Kibbeh

  • 1 lb. Earth Balance Buttery Spread, diced into chunks
  • 1/4 c. minced shallots, about 3
  • 1" knob of ginger, peeled & grated
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4-5 cardamom seeds, crushed with the handle of your knife
  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

Melt the "butter" in a sauce pan and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to mix. Let it simmer vigorously, but not boil, for about 15-20 minutes while stirring very frequently. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a glass or ceramic container. As you let the mixture cool stir it once in a while to make sure all of the spice doesn't sink to the bottom. Once it starts to harden a bit, move it to the fridge and try to stir it a couple more times before it's completely hardened.

Red Lentil Stew

  • 1/4 c. niter kibbeh
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large unpeeled potato, 1/2" dice
  • 1 1/2 c. red lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 3/4 c. water or vegetable broth to start, more as needed
  • 1-2 Tbsp. beriberi (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

Melt the niter kibbeh in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the diced potato, beriberi, paprika and salt and toss to coat the vegetables with the spices. Then add the rinsed lentils and stir to incorporate. Add 2 3/4 c. water or broth and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it simmer for 10 minutes, adding more broth or water if it starts to dry out. Make sure to stir the stew frequently throughout the cooking process because red lentils love to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for 15 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. This is excellent served over brown rice and even better with injera bread.

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