Ethiopian Lentil Curry

by Kris on May 11, 2011

If you have never had Ethiopian food you have not lived! This vegan and vegetarian friendly cuisine is full of flavour and a great option for large groups. Traditionally the cuisine comprises of various legumes and vegetable based curries served atop of an airy flat bread called injera which is similar to a pancake. Using your hands you scoop up the curry with the injera and enjoy this communal meal with friends and loved ones. Is there anything better than that??

Unfortunately Ethiopian restaurants are hard to come by in Texas so to fulfill my cravings I took to the kitchen. After searching my pantry and being faced with a lacking vegetable drawer I made some adjustments to the traditional lentil based curry. Adding some cauliflower, peas and plain yogurt made the curry filling enough for an entire meal. I did not have buckwheat flour on hand so I did not make the injera but if you are feeling ambitious here is a great looking recipe.

This recipe makes enough curry for six people but fear not lonely cook, it also freezes well!

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown lentils
1 cauliflower head, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups frozen peas
1 can tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. amchar massala
2 Tbsp. massala molida
¼ cup plain yogurt (optional)

In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add minced garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.

Combine cauliflower, peas and lentils in the pot, sprinkle with amchar massala and massala molida and sauté for 5 minutes.

Pour crushed tomatoes and tomato paste into the pot and stir to combine. Add about two cups of water and bring curry to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low until lentils are tender; about an hour.

Mix in plain yogurt and serve immediately.

Serves 6

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

jennifer May 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Hi, this sounds great! But what the heck is massala molida? I can not find the ingredients for it anywhere, and I am assuming it is a spice mixture? can you point me int he right direction, I would really like to try this!


Kris May 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Massala molida is a ground spice mix also referred to as Berbere. It’s used in a lot of Ethiopian cuisine. I found mine at an African grocer, but you can also make your own. Saveur has a recipe here:


jennifer May 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Thank you so much… I am off to the store to get the fixins!


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