Kik Alicha – Ethiopian Yellow and Green Split Pea Stew
I absolutely adore lentils in all their forms, so Ethiopian cuisine has been a lot of fun for me to experiment with. Indeed, there are quite a few dishes that are entirely based on lentils. But, don’t let that fool you! All of these lentil-based dishes are surprisingly different from each other, largely due to the creative use of all the various colors of lentils that are available.
Kik Alicha can be served with a quick wheat-based injera bread, authentic injera bread, or rice (if you want a grain free option, cauliflower rice will work just as well). Though it can be eaten by itself, preferably it should be served with a side like this since the flavors are quite intense for a simple soup on its own. However, of all the Ethiopian lentil soups, this one is probably one of the mildest.
- 1/4 cup dried yellow split peas (soak overnight for best results; if you're in a hurry, soak for at least 2 hours)
- 1/4 cup dried green split peas (soak overnight for best results; if you're in a hurry, soak for at least 2 hours)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tsp olive oil OR avocado oil
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves, mashed
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, mashed
- 1/3 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt (add more salt to taste, if desired)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- After soaking the split peas, drain off the remaining water and rinse well. Set them to the side for now. (This stage helps soften the split peas to enhance their texture, and also removes antinutrients from the split peas so that they're more digestible and nutritious.)
- Mash the garlic and ginger together, and chop the onion now. Set these to the side.
- In a medium sized pot, heat the 2 tsp of oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and the mashed garlic and ginger. Stir until the onion is translucent.
- Add the turmeric to the pot. Let heat for at least 1 minute, stirring regularly.
- Add the split peas, stir, then add the 1 1/2 cups of water, salt, pepper, and water. Cover and bring the soup to a boil on medium heat.
- When the soup has started boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the soup simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the split peas have softened to your liking.
- Taste and add salt or pepper to your liking. Mash the split peas if you wish.
- Serve with some lime wedges and chili to the side (diners can add lime juice and chili to their own plate as they desire).
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