Yesterday.  I tried to talk my cell phone down from a suicide attempt.

I failed.


Which is a tragedy in and of itself but especially because I felt as if we had really connected in the past few months.  We’d made progress.  Gotten down to the nitty gritty of why it feels the need to act out.  So.  Much.  (I would get into the psychology of it but between HIPAA and patient-doctor confidentiality laws, it’s probably not the best idea.  Suffice it to say, it’s all very Freudian.  Oedipal complex.  Penis envy.  The usual.)

And then before I know it, I’m walking down 1st Avenue headed towards the gym.  I’m checking my email.  When all of a sudden, it’s jumping ship.  Straight out of my hand and directly towards a sewage drain.

I do one of those slow motion leaps (note that I was about a foot away from the sewage drain at the time).  Scream NOOOOOOOO in that slow motion extended long play baritone voice.

And then breathe a sigh of relief as it lands face down and somehow does not fall through the cracks and into the dark and damp recesses of the New York City sewage system.  Never to be seen again.


So I pick it up and am ready to start scolding it for giving me such a ghastly scare and demanding that it never do any such thing again because I am not going to go down there after it.

When I look at it’s face.  Now shattered.  Pixel by pixel.

And especially after the oven’s ultimate betrayal of my wants.  Needs.  Desires.  All I could think was.  Et tu, Brute?


So then I went home, proceeded to get a monstrous headache that I went to bed with and consequently woke up with this morning.  (Don’t you just love when that happens?)

(I really need to stop forging emotional connections with my electronic devices.  It can’t possibly end well.  For either of us.)

And somewhere in the middle there.  I had dinner.  Absolutely sick of technology (literally) and not having an oven to turn on even if I wanted to, all I could think about eating was clean simple food.  Food without additives or preservatives or an agenda.  Food that is good just because.  And that is what I love about Ethiopian food.  It is comprised entirely of ingredients that you have on hand (so long as you have a spice collection that takes up two whole shelves of one of your cabinets).  And yet combines them in such a way that they taste like coming home. Even, and maybe especially, if home is a cell phone- and oven-less twelfth story apartment on NY’s upper east side.  Which is probably about as close to an African savanna as I am ever going to get.

This is my submission to this month’s Regional Recipes!  Be sure to send me your submissions by the end of the month!

I am also submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Huan of Eat.Read.Live.


Ethiopian Lentil Stew
Serves 4, adapted from Saveur

1 cup red lentils
2 tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp berbere spice mix (recipe follows)
1 small tomato, chopped
salt, to taste

1. Rinse the lentil under cold running water and set aside.

2. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Saute the onion until brown.  Add in the garlic for 30 seconds.  Stir constantly.  Mix in the reserved lentils, 1 tbsp of the berbere, tomato and four cups of water.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 45-50 minutes or until thick and lentils are cooked through.  Stir in the remaining tbsp of berbere.  Season with salt.

Berbere Spice Mix
Makes about 3/4 cup, adapted from Saveur

2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp allspice
6 cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
1/2 cup dried onion flakes
5 dried chiles de arbol, stemmed, seeded and broken into little pieces
3 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. In a skillet, toast the coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom pods, and cloves until fragrant, tossing and swirling the pan frequently, about 4 minutes.

2. Grind these in a spice grinder, along with the onion flakes and chiles de arbol.  Mix in the paprika, salt, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.

Ethiopian Green Beans and Potatoes
Serves 4, adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

2 large white potatoes (about 1 1/2 lb)
1/2 lb green beans, stemmed and cut into 1/2 inch sections
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, seeded and cored, minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice

1. Set up a pot of boiling, salted water.  Dice the potatoes and throw them into the pot, cooking for 12 minutes over high heat.  Add in the green beans and cook for 3-5 minutes or until desired consistency has been reached.  Drain in a colander.

2. Heat a large non-stick skillet.  Saute the onion, garlic, and serrano pepper for about 4 minutes.  Add in the turmeric, cumin, and salt.  Saute for one minute more.  Add in the stewed tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, and lime juice.  Cook for 7-10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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86 Responses to Ethiopian Lentil Stew (Misr Wot) and Ethiopian Green Beans and Potatoes (Yataklete Kilkil)

  1. You read my mind! I bossily told the hubster that we’d be eating more lentils soon and he kinda looked at me puzzled. Now you’ve armed me with a recipe that looks awesome! Watch out hubster, it’s lentil time!

  2. I need more lentils in my life and fewer technological contraptions…so stew here I come.

  3. newlywed says:

    Those lentils look great! I confess I have never had Ethiopian food, but I am looking forward to trying it.

  4. Lea Ann says:

    Beautiful photos Joanne. I got so mad at my cell phone one time that I intentionally threw it out of the window while driving on a country road. I got about a mile away, felt guilty and went and fished it out of the ditch. I apologized for my actions and we went forward.

  5. Nelly says:

    …do you have Verizon?

    Also, lentils, yum! I don’t have them very much anymore, but my mother used to make us lentil stew a lot when I was growing up. Time to make a trip to the bulk foods aisle…

  6. girlichef says:

    I love the pic of the spice mix…it’s so, I don’t know…warming? Ethiopian food seems very comforting to me…and I think I’d better get my butt in gear…July is almost over!!! Delicious. I had a cell phone broke its own rib once. Stupid phones.

  7. I love trying food from different cultures…. I will definitely make this soon! Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Mine is operating just fine with a large portion of the front screen missing after dropping it. I keep planning to get another but then don’t. One of these days! I am loving this recipe and feeling in need of some spice in these hot summer days. Great recipe!

  9. Pierce says:

    Nice looking dishes here…I sure sympathize over the cell phone issue. It’s a love hate relationship with the damn things!

  10. Simply Life says:

    oh no! sorry to hear about the phone and the oven but at least the stove is working, right?! 🙂

  11. Marisa says:

    Great looking photos! See you also went with Mesir Wat – it’s delish, isn’t it?

    Love the look of those green beans & potatoes too.

  12. Mary says:

    That spice mix is fascinating. As it happens I’m shy on recipes for lentils and this one sounds interesting. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  13. janet says:

    What a lovely way to have lentils. One can never have too many lentil and rice recipes. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Joanne!

  14. Kim says:

    I’m really hoping to get on board with this month’s RR challenge. Everything sounds right up my alley. I love lentils. Aren’t they comforting and delicious? And that spice mix sounds really inviting! Looks like a great meal to comfort you from the cell phone blues.

  15. Kristen says:

    I have been wondering all month what you were going to be making for the Ethiopian recipe round up. I, of course, was drawing a complete blank…helped by the fact that I didn’t Google “Ethiopian recipes.” The potato/green bean dish sounds wonderful.

    I do hope you put your next cellphone on a tighter leash. Despite the resentment it may feel toward its lack of freedom, it will probably serve you better. These appliances need to know who’s boss.

  16. Suman Singh says:

    WOW..love those dishes..looks awesome, would love to make that ethiopian lentil stew..and yes enjoy reading your post every time..have a nice weekend..tk care!

  17. elra says:

    Thanks for the reminder Joanne, I’ll try to make Ethiopian dish for tonight.

  18. Wonderful dishes. It’s nice to be exposed to something new. I might have to nick the Berbere Spice Mix.

    Well done!

  19. Shannon says:

    i’ve been meaning to make ethiopean food for awhile now ever since going to addis red sea! will have to book mark these 🙂

  20. Giovanna says:

    The potatoes and green beans look wonderful! So yummy looking
    Your right about the spices though, oy vey! Luckily I have one whole cabinet assigned to spices : )

  21. Ameena says:

    I love Ethiopian food! As I mentioned before I had it for the first time last week in DC and I think it is delicious! Thanks for the great recipe…the lentils kind of remind me of daal which I love.

    Sorry about your cell phone. When one of Ali’s technology pieces take a tumble it is a full on vigil over here. His 4G is giving him some grief and it isn’t pretty!

  22. The last time I had Ethiopian was when we lived in NYC on the upper east side! (I think the place was on 2nd Ave???) This looks wonderful, I need to get red lentils! So your oven is still not fixed? Sounds like my old Landlord!

  23. RV says:

    Oh boy, the spice mixture is definitely a keeper. Never had ethiopian food before, but I would love to try it soon. It looks so flavorful.

  24. I love all these vegetarian dishes you are making, Joanne! You’re doing it all for me, right? 🙂 This has fantastic spices, I’m sure it just tastes incredible! I’ve gotten some wonderful green beans from the CSA recently and this would be a great dish to use for.

  25. Looks very colourful and yum

  26. Justin Marx says:

    Inspiring. I have been meaning to start cooking ethiopian dishes, which I luv….

  27. Marcia says:

    LOVE Ethiopian food. Had a fave restaurant when I lived in DC. Sadly, none here.

  28. Andreas says:

    Great food to tide you over until a new phone and/or oven arrives.

  29. Katerina says:

    this spice mix looks really powerful. The dish looks great. I am a little hesitant though and I will skip this country in regional recipes. I am not too sure about the results. But I can’t wait to see the round up and view all the participants.

  30. Eliana says:

    Loving every last bit of this meal with all its bold flavors. I’m sure every bite is like a party in the mouth.

  31. Always adore the lentil dishes…your stew looks absolutely gorgeous!


  32. Pam says:

    Sorry about the phone and the headache (and the oven too). I’ve never had Ethiopian food but this post makes me want to try it now.

  33. Laurie says:

    Ohh yumm, the green beans and potato dish looks so delicious!
    And your photo display is so creative!!

  34. Nicole, RD says:

    OH NO! No phone and no stove? I bet you figure out the stove situation before the phone 🙂

    Gorgeous photos, and the “clean” food looks divine!!

  35. I love these flavors and I love lentils, so this is lovely comfort food! Hope it made your headache feel better.

  36. Raina says:

    That really looks delicious, healthy, hearty..yum! You make the most amazing dishes:)

    Bummer about your phone and oven…hope they get fixed soon.

    I dropped my keys through a sewer grate years ago. I could see my little Smurf key chain staring up at me just out of reach…sniff..sniff.

  37. Amy says:

    I had a Motorola cell for the longest time. I mean loooong. When I finally splurged on a Blackberry last year, the sales guy looked totally confused how to transfer the data. Ya, that long.

    I’m so in love with my Blackberry, I named it. Lily. Her name is Lily. And Paul jokes that she gets more action than he does.

    I can hardly remember how I functioned without her.

  38. tigerfish says:

    The stew with potatoes+green beans are coming together really well 🙂 Feel better, ok?

  39. Wow, I’ve never made ethiopian food! I’ve eaten it out plenty, but of course it would make sense to try it along with some injera bread to satisfy my recent obsession with teff!

  40. This is serious comfort food! And really delicious looking! I can totally trick my family into eating food like this… Love that spice mix too, bet it would be delicious on just about anything!

  41. kate says:

    This…& all of your recipes look so fantastic!! Your photography is gorgeous too!
    Thanks for all of your kind comments over on my blog! I really appreciate it 🙂

  42. Pam says:

    Oh no! Well, I just got a Droid X and I love it. Or I will love it as soon as I figure it out!

  43. Chef Dennis says:

    Everything looks delicious!! your pictures are just incredible, lets hope your camera never tries to leave you!!! Your stew sounds and looks amazing, I am not familiar with style of cooking but I can certainly tell how flavorful it is….
    thanks for such a great post, and you always find a way to make me smile!

  44. Looks just fabulous. I love the mix of vegetables and chickpeas! Thank you

  45. wow I need to get me some of this spice mix, wonderful food as always Joanne enjoy the weekend, and don’t forget to add some scotch to your pancakes he he

  46. Kelsey says:

    holy crap i love lentil stew!!! wow i really need to make some <3 looks amazing!!!!!

  47. So sorry about your phone! Your pics look fabulous.

  48. Debinhawaii says:

    These both look delicious! What a hearty, healthy dinner. I have to figure out what I am making and get my act in gear for RR. 😉

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  50. grace says:

    ah, phone trauma is so…traumatizing. sorry, kid. meanwhile, tremendous ethnic recipe here. it’d take me as close to the african savanna as i’ll ever get too, and that’s just fine with me. 🙂

  51. Hannah says:

    Now you’re talking my language! I recently became obsessed with Ethiopian food, and have been disappointed as to how few recipes there are out there. This is a must-make for me!

  52. Swathi says:

    I need try that spice mixture, ingredients sounds wonderful. Sorry to hear about the behavior your cellphone. All dishes are great

  53. Umm.. why wasn’t I invited to this pity party/fabulous dinner?! Expect cupcakes in the next couple of days!

  54. I enjoyed Ethiopian foods when I went to an Ethiopian restaurant (which is just a block away from my home), but I haven’t made them by myself.

    At that time, I ordered goat and beef stew and tastes very much close to Indonesian beef rendang.

    I should try make my own Ethiopian food one day.

    Your picture makes me drool and think to make one of the Ethiopian foods one day.

  55. Nadji says:

    Que de saveurs!!!! Une cuisine pleine de goût.
    See soon.

  56. Oh my! Such a tragedy with your cell phone. Good thing you rescued your mind with this delicious Ethiopian food. Those flavors sound amazing. Best of luck getting over your trauma. xo

  57. Mmmm I’ve never had Ethiopian food but I really love lentils. So healthy, too!

  58. Sippity Sup says:

    I say you let your cell phone kill itself and concentrate on cooking. Also regarding your pickled cherries. I have been trying to perfect that recipe for years. Is this the recipe of my dreams?? Should I put myself through the woe of seeing if it stands up to my memories of it from my traveling youth? GREG

  59. sophia says:

    I’ve never tried Ethiopian food before. You, my dear, are a gastronomic nomad. You’re traveling around the world with your food adventures! When will you visit Korea, hmm? 😉

    Hope you get your new cell phone soon though. I can’t live without mine.

  60. So sorry about your recent run of bad luck with your phone and oven. It looks though, as if you’re turning out some mighty fine dishes without either of them! These look great- that spice mixture sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  61. Monet says:

    Your blog is insanely popular…and for good reason! I’m so glad I found it because your posts are funny, informative and down-right drool worthy! My husband and I adore Ethiopian food, so this dish sounds delicious.

  62. Yasmeen says:

    The spicy African cuisine entices me,love the meal.Life without a cell phone sounds hard,hope you get a better replacement.

  63. Velva says:

    My technology over the last couple of years have become my e-leash around my neck. I am frustrated daily by it, but would appear to die without it too. May your phone RIP.

    I have not had the experience to enjoy authentic Ethiopian food. I love the simplicity of the ingredients and the soul satisfying nature of its cuisine.

    Thanks for sharing.

  64. Martha (MM) says:

    This looks beautiful Joanne and I absolutely must try those zucchini fritters in the previous entry. It’s getting a little embarrassing that all my food post start out with “this was inspired by Joanne” LOL! Another embarrassing thing, my cell phone has a name – Harry. Harry the Blackberry. I know, I’m not quite right!

  65. Did it have a Living Will – a Do Not Resuscitate order on file? I say better to be distracted by food than phones anyway. I love lentils and this stew sounds delicious – spicy and comforting at the same time.

  66. If I told you what a nightmare cell phones are here in Lebanon, you would feel lucky; anyway, I am awed by your fearless foray into Ethiopian cuisine now! Cool; had a couple of meals and loved the spices; never dreamt I could replicate that at home though; bravo, J

  67. I will definitely try this version of Yataklete Kilkil! It looks super yummy! And the Berbere looks like a delicious blend of spices!

    P.s. how could you inhale lentils? I’m sure the stew was smelling deliciously good, but… 😉

  68. PJ says:

    oh wow, i dont know how i missed sending an entry to this event! ethiopian is one of my favorite foods.. this looks so delicious.

  69. Barbara says:

    Ethiopian food is entirely new to me. But I do adore lentils. When I saw your lentil soup recipe I was thinking….fall is coming. But what are you thinking? Isn’t NYC about 100 degrees?? (At least that’s what my daughter tells me.)
    On the other hand, they say spicy foods are perfect for hot weather. 🙂

  70. I’ve finally started cooking lentils recently and love it!

  71. Esi says:

    I just went out for Ethiopian food last week. I love it!

  72. Stella says:

    Too funny-but sorry about the phone. I have a shattered, wet one go to the way side before. It was very sad…(smile).
    This food looks wonderful. I need to make more Ethiopian food-it’s good!

  73. Carolyn Jung says:

    OK, I would chide ya for walking while looking at your phone. But I always think people who do are an accident waiting to happen. People at my gym are constantly walking down the stairs while checking email. Yeah, imagine the tumble there just waiting to happen. Hopefully, I won’t ever have to witness that. Ouch!

  74. Oh what a day you had! I do check my phone while walking too…oh my, I really have to stop doing that! The dishes look amazing tho…

  75. Thanks for the berbere spice mix recipe! I love making my own spice mizes, so this is fantastic. I also just love this lentil dish – I’ll be trying it out ASAP!

  76. theUngourmet says:

    Whew! So glad your phone did not land in the sewer. I am famous for dropping my phone. Right now I’m using a nearly antique cell phone of my mom’s (my phone was toast after the last dropping incident) waiting patiently until it’s time for an upgrade. I just picked up lentils today. This looks terrific! Love the spice blend!

  77. Lynn says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Ethiopian food, but your potato dish looks heavenly. And so sorry to hear about your phone. I can just picture (and hear) the agony of your inevitable “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

  78. I adore anything with berbere spice mix, it’s a wonderful combination and versatile. This Ethiopian lentil stew looks flavorful and hearty. The green beans and potatoes look tasty too, I like all of the spices.

  79. Cynthia says:

    The colours of the beans and potatoes look so beautiful and bright! Your food is always so incredibly healthy and homey that I just want to dive in. And I definitely hear you on the electronics and oven dependency!

  80. Sook says:

    This is such a great, healthy dish! This would be a perfect diet food for me. 🙂

  81. The green bean and potato dish sounds divine! Can’t wait to try that one.

  82. Yum this looks like quite the feast!

  83. Joanne, I have to say that after that kind of day, even I (who love to cook and bake) usually either pull out some convenience/frozen item or tell my bf he’s cooking. Good for you for still making such a delicious meal. Ethiopian food was love at first bite for me as well. If you have teff flour, by the way, I have a pretty good cheat’s recipe for injera crepes.

  84. sweetlife says:

    technology really sucks sometimes…but your lentil stew, oh now that’s lovely..


  85. leilapeila says:

    This was delicious! I didn’t have green beans so I added raw sliced zucchini to the skillet with the tomatoes and cooked potatoes. The flavors are so homey and comforting. I loved it!

  86. […] Three years ago…Ethiopian Lentil Stew and Ethiopian Green Beans and Potatoes […]

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