Amazing African Wat

May 25th, 2010 · Lisa · gluten-free, nut-free, Recipes, Savory, sugar-free · Comments

May’d me Smile May 25 – not needing a jacket on my walk to work for the first time this year. Welcome summer, I’ve been expecting you.


On the long weekend I had a chance to have a little date with my friend Colleen. We’ve been trying to make a regular routine of sneaking off to our favourite Ethiopian restaurant to catch up over injera and colourful piles of lentils and greens. Nazareth doesn’t have much ambience but the food is fantastic. I’m almost afraid to tell you that for two people the cost is about $11.00 and you leave feeling very full. But this place is tiny and we have to arrive at 5pm to make sure we get a table. It is totally worth the extra effort.

The vast majority of my meals are made up of fresh fruit and vegetables but a few months ago I decided that in order to find a place of balance for my body I needed to be a little more flexible about the rules that govern my existence. I know a lot of other people who are strong advocates of the living food lifestyle who are also considering adding some cooked grains and beans to round out their nutritional sources. These foods are high in fibre and nutrients and can help to balance the sugar and fats in a diet dominated by fruit and nuts.


In Becoming Raw, the authors provide the information you need to get all of your necessary nutrients from raw food sources but they also advocate the addition of whole grains, beans and legumes. I decided to recreate the flavours from my Ethiopian meal in a way that would fit within my regular meal plan.

African Wat Stew
3/4 cup dry red lentils (or 1 cup lentil sprouts)
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes + 3 cups of hot water
2 TB cashews
1 TB sunflower seeds
2 tsp flax oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2-3/4 TB Berber spice (depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup celery, minced
1 cup tomato, chopped
2 TB fresh lemon juice

If you want to make this meal entirely raw you can use sprouted lentils. I decided to boil 2 cups of water and add the dry lentils. I turned down the heat slightly and let the lentils cook for about 12 minutes, until they were soft.

In my blender I combined the sun-dried tomatoes, soak water, cashews, seeds, oil, salt and Berber spice.

In a large bowl I combined the vegetables and tossed them in the lemon juice. Add the lentils and the blender mixture and stir. The results are a rich, spicy stew that can transport you to Addis Abeba.

Have you ever tried to recreate your favourite restaurant meal at home? Success? Failure?

Are you a fan of Ethiopian food? Have you given it a try?

10 Comments

  1. Posted May 25, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Both meals look delicious! I'm a huge fan of Ethiopian food, it's my favourite recovery meal. I haven't tried to reproduce it at home, mainly because I like to support the family who runs my go-to Ethiopian restaurant in Ottawa, Habesha.

  2. Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    that looks so good! perfect, thanks for recommending it.

  3. Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    That looks great! It's funny, I was just eating Ethiopian food yesterday, though it was a simple, cooked lentil-onion-berbere concoction. I'm also embarrassed to say I took one of the photos they used on the cover of that book (honestly, the worst picture ever). I'll have to check out more of the recipes!

  4. Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    That's funny you ask because tonight Robby recreated an orange julius and it was a huge success! It was delicious, and the apartment was HOT so it was just what I needed to cool down.

    I have only tried Ethiopian food once. I didn't like it that much but I know everyone says how good it is so for a while I have wanted to give it another try – maybe it was just what I ordered, or the restaurant I was at, or maybe in the past few years my taste buds are more adapted and I would like it! Tell me more about this Nazareth place – where is it located?

  5. Posted May 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Oh, yum! Thanks Lisa, this looks delicious, and I'm grateful you suggested the option of lentil sprouts. I have plenty of them in the fridge now. I enjoy legumes and whole grains.

    I don't think I will ever totally exclude cooked foods – I do tend to want them more in the cooler seasons. Here in Louisiana, we are now experiencing temps in the 90's, and this will continue until late September. I think this will be the season of "all raw" for me.

    Do you ever make the injera bread yourself? Is there a recipe you favor?

  6. Posted May 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    one question: what is berber spice?

  7. Posted May 26, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I have never tried Ethiopian food, but it sounds intriguing for sure.

    Lentils are a favorite of mine and your recipe looks incredible:)

  8. Posted May 27, 2010 at 10:28 am

    This looks and sounds amazing, we love lentils!! We are trying to add some cooked grains and beans back into diet, so far so good ; )

    Yes we have recreated meals that we had a restaurants, mostly recently been trying to recreate things Lori had while overseas!
    Pure2raw twins

  9. Posted May 27, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Thank you so much for the recipe! The African wat looks fabulous!

    And it's the perfect opportunity to actually use berbéré in a recipe.

  10. Posted May 29, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Hey, blogger deleted my responses.

    I'm so glad you all liked the wat recipe. I love
    Ethiopian food so I was so happy to find a delicious way to enjoy it without all of the oil that is used at most restaurants.

    Bitt, Berbere is a spice blend like garam masala. You can find it at a lot spice shops.

    a-k, my mom bought me the book and it actually has tons of recipes that I haven't found elsewhere.

    Lori and Michelle the socca recipes you've been creating look incredible.

    Tracy, I went for Ethiopian in Ottawa the night before the race last year. It was the perfect pre-race meal for me.

    Barbee, it is on Bloor just West of Ossington. It is tiny but amazing.

    Mindy, I have read lots of injera recipes but I've never attempted it at home.

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