Wat, Wet, Wot W'et, W'at

It is variously called wat, w'at, wot, wet, or w'et.  Basically its a thick stew from the Ethiopian food tradition.  After talking to some Africans attending the college where I work I went on a fun little quest for recipes--chapati bread, injira, and wat.   The wat, it turned out, was a real winner.
Since its a type of food--stew--rather than a particular dish it seems that the varieties are endless.

I've read that one of its hallmarks is the use of the spice berbere--which I have yet to locate locally--so I cannot speak for the authenticity of my recipe.  However, even without the berbere the blend of spices in this  is pretty spectacular.  Matt and I are hooked already.
Red Lentil Wat

1 C dried red lentils
2-6 C mixed veg, chopped (carrots, squash, peas, potato, tomatoes, etc)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 C tomato sauce
2 C veg stock
1 T paprika
1 t ground ginger
1 t tumeric
1 t garam masala
1 T cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

Saute onion in a dab of oil over low heat.
When onions start to get translucent add the garlic and saute another minute or so.
Add veg stock, spices, and tomato sauce.
Bring to a boil.
Add lentils.
Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are cooked and the stew has thickened.
Serve with flatbread or rice.

In this wat we used chickpeas instead of lentils and left out the cayenne pepper since we were having dinner guests and couldn't remember how they felt about a little heat.  The basic recipe is so easy to play around with.   The spice and vegetable combinations are easy to adjust to suit personal taste preferences as well as what is on hand and in season.


  1. You are going to love berbere when you find it. It will certainly light up anything bland!


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