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Ethiopian spiced lentils

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  • Chef: Zoe
  • Time: Prep: 10 minutes Cooking: 30 minutes
  • Cost: 30p per person


This spicy lentil dish is eaten all over Ethiopia and Eritrea and goes well with salad, rice and some plain yogurt or yogurt with chopped mint and cucumber. You can add other vegetables into the dish to up your intake, such as chopped cauliflower or sweet potatoes. The lentils are cooked in a spice called Berbere which can be found in some of the larger supermarkets and some of the ethnic shops in Brixton market and Stockwell.



  • 300g of red lentils
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable/sunflower oil
  • 3 carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 200g of baby spinach or chopped spinach
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of berbere powder (add an extra teaspoon if you like it hotter!)
  • Half a teaspoon of turmeric


Serves 4



1. Heat oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for approximately 15 minutes on a low heat, until golden, stir regularly, adding water if it starts to dry out.

2. Add the garlic, ginger and berbere and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring regularly.

3. Wash the red lentils and add these alongside the carrots and 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil and cook for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring regularly. Add more water if the lentils start to soak it up before being cooked.

4. Stir through the spinach and cook for a further 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.