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Ethiopian Food, Part 4: Atkilt Wat

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I’ve shared a number of Ethiopian recipes with you, and this is the last one to round out all of those dishes.

I am not a huge fan of cabbage. As a kid, I distinctly remember my mom cooking it periodically… The only two versions I liked included corned beef and cabbage around St. Patrick’s Day (as a gesture towards my Irish heritage, which came from my dad’s side of the family) and stuffed cabbage in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. However, this cabbage dish is one I also added to my “enjoyed cabbage dish” list when I had Ethiopian food for the first time.

The cabbage is accompanied by some potatoes and carrots, making the dish a bit more filling. It’s comfort food that just so happens to be filled with vegetables and good-for-you spices such as cancer-fighting ginger and turmeric.

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Atkilt Wat (Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes)

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

Yields about 4 servings.

2 1/2 pounds green cabbage, cored then cut into 3/4″ pieces
1/2 pound carrots, peeled, quartered, then cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ squares
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1″ piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste


In a large casserole pan, heat the olive oil. Add the minced onion and cook over medium-high heat until soft and just beginning to brown.

Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper, cooking until everything is fragrant (5 or so minutes).

Add the carrots, potatoes and water, cooking over medium heat. Occasionally stir until the carrots and potatoes just begin to soften (5-7 minutes).

Stir the cabbage in, in large handfuls. Let each batch wilt slightly before adding more. Drizzle in a bit of water if the pan starts to dry out.

Once all the cabbage has been added, cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is soft and tender (30-40 minutes). Serve with injera.


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Ethiopian Food, Part 3: Mesir Wat

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For a little while, I thought I was just going to share a slew of Ethiopian food recipes with you. We got started… then life happened and somehow today is October?! With school in full swing, football and water polo both also heavily in effect, time seems scarce. We’ve been traveling a lot, mostly relative to the kids’ sport events, but typically this means a very fast paced drive out of town, rush to events, drive back to town, drive to more events… and by the end of those three or so day stretches, the last thing my brain is coherent enough to do is write down recipe that make any sense.

Regardless, here we are! And I’m bringing you a delicious Ethiopian lentil stew that is perhaps one of my favorite dishes when it comes to such cuisine. Lentils are super easy to deal with and pack a good bit of nutrition. They help lower blood cholesterol due to high amounts of soluble fiber (such fiber also being excellent for preventing digestive disruptions). They’re great for folks with diabetes, as the same soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, which stabilizes blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion. They have a decent amount of proteins and iron, too!

There are many different types of “wat” or “wot” when it comes to Ethiopian food, which basically translates to a stew or curry. When it comes to mesir wat, red lentils are cooked until thick and creamy with berbere spice, creating a very hearty and comforting dish. The addition of berbere makes this dish slightly spicy, but mainly very flavorful.

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Ethiopian Food, Part 3: Mesir Wat [Pureed Red Lentil Stew]

Serves 4-6 people.

1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
2 cups water
1 large onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons berbere spice
salt and pepper


Place the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and puree. Add a little water if necessary.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the berbere spice, rapidly stirring, enough to color the oil and cook spices through, about 30 seconds.

Add the onion puree and sauté until the excess moisture evaporates and the onion loses its raw aroma, about 5-10 minutes, being sure not to burn the mixture. Add the lentils and water to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the lentils are cooked through, falling apart, (30 to 40 minutes). Add water if necessary to keep the lentils from drying out.

Stir in salt and pepper to taste and then serve.

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