Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ethiopian Lentil and Potato Pot

While shopping at the Leiden Friday Farmer's Market during my 5 month stay in Holland, I made friends with a few young people from Ethiopia. They had come to Holland on political asylum but were living regular lives and going to college. During one of my visits to their place, I was served a dish very similar to this one- I did not ask for the exact recipe- but I was told it was garbanzo, brown lentil and potato stew. I remember it was fragrant and tasty....
After many years, I tried reconstructing the same dish with the help of an Ethiopian cook book (Exotic Ethiopian Cooking : Society, Culture, Hospitality, and Traditions), and I can say that I got very close to the taste of that long-ago-served meal.


  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 6 medium size potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown lentils, dry
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 cup mixed cut carrots and corn
  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Vegetable stock
  1. Combine the chickpeas, vinegar, coriander, cayenne pepper, and cumin in container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in refrigerator while prepping remainder of dish, shaking it occasionally.
  2. Cook the potatoes till done.
  3. Cook the brown lentils till done.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; cook and stir the onion and garlic in the hot oil until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the carrots and corn and cook till tender.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, potatoes, season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the brown  lentils , increase heat to high, and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Season the lentil mixture with salt and pepper, reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer.
  7. Grind the marinated chickpeas and add to the simmering mixture.
  8. Mix all the cooked ingredients  together and  simmer for another 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock as you simmer,  if mixture is too dry.
  9. Optional, garnish with roasted cashew nuts and fried chili pepper.

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