Tsebhi Birsen

A spicy red lentil stew



Prep time

20 minutes

Cook time

1 hour

This is a delicious east african stew similar to a dahl  



brown onions, diced

3 garlic cloves, crushed 
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated 
200g red lentils, washed 
400g tinned chickpeas, washed and strained 
400g tinned kidney beans, washed and strained 
750ml  chicken stock 
2 tbsps olive oil

Spice mix :

3 tsps paprika
2 tsps cayenne pepper
2 tsps cumin seeds
2 tsps coriander seeds
3 tsps  allspice 
1 tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
6 cardamon pods, burst  
1/2 tsp black pepper 


1. Begin with the spice mix. Heat a pan over a medium heat, once hot, dry fry the cumin and coriander seeds for 1 minute. Then, remove the seeds to a pestle and mortal with the contents of the cardamon pods, then crush.

2. Add the other spices, mix, then place to one side.

3. Next, add the olive oil to a large pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and a pinch of salt then cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Stir throughout. 

4. Next, add the garlic and ginger. Cook for two minutes stirring throughout.

5. Reduce to a low heat and then add the spice mix. Mix in and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

6. Now, add your lentils and stock, raise to a simmer then put the lid on and reduce to a low heat. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.

7. Once the lentils have cooked, add the chickpeas and kidney beans, cook for 2 minutes then serve.

Chef’s tips

Cook slowly on a low heat to maintain the aromatic flavours. Serve with yoghurt and flat breads.


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