Most traditional Ethiopian dishes are cooked over the stove, stirred frequently, and treated with love. While a romantic option for those with a little extra time, I needed a more efficient option—a rice cooker. My favorite weeknight staple is a simple stew made with red lentils and berbere, alongside grilled fish with awaze sauce. Here are the recipes for both.

Ethiopian lentil stew (mesir wot)
If you don’t have a rice cooker with a porridge setting, cook in a pot over a hot stove and stir occasionally until the lentils are tender. The measurements are meant to be guides only.

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp berbere
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced (or ~1 c. tomato sauce)
  • 1 c. red lentils
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 tbsp cardamom
  • 2 tbsp nitter kibbe or butter
  • salt to taste

Set the rice cooker to quick-cook setting, and add the garlic and ginger with a little oil. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the onion and the berbere.


Saute for a few minutes until you have a soft mush, like this:


Add the lentils and the water and stir, and set for the porridge setting. The lentils will cook for about an hour. When done, add the cardamom, butter and salt. Serve warm with injera or rolls of bread.

Note: I usually need to turn the cooker off for about a minute so that it cools enough to operate on the porridge setting.

porridge setting

Grilled fish with awaze sauce (assa awaze tibs)

For the fish:
  • White fish (I used tilapia), sliced into cubes
For the awaze sauce:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp wine (I prefer chardonnay, although tej (honey wine) would be the traditional choice)
  • 2 tbsp berbere

raw fish

Cover the fish cubes with half of the awaze sauce, and sauté over low-to-medium heat until cooked through (about 2-3 minutes).

Serve with the remaining awaze sauce on injera.

Alternative option: For a non-alcoholic awaze, mix berbere and coca-cola in equal parts. It’s got a zing!


Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. This looks delicious!


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About Ashley Saw the World

Ashley grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas. She studied the liberal arts and law, and enjoys writing, painting and cooking. She is married into an Ethiopian family and dedicates this blog to sharing their story.




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