Tsebhi Birsen - Eritrean Red Lentil Stew

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recipe by Arousing Appetites http://arousingappetites.com/

  • Time icon
    Total Time
    1hr 0mins
  • Serves icon
  • Calories icon
based on 3 ratings

Tsebhi Birsen is a magnificent spicy lentil recipe that hails from Eritrea. This relatively simple recipe is packed with incredible flavors. When it comes to preparing tsebhi birsen, you don’t need to do much besides stir really, really well.

Inspired by: https://arousingappetites.com/tsebhi-birsen-eritrean-red-lentils-simmered-berbere-vegan-gluten-free-vegetarian/

recipe updated Oct 8, 2019


  • Fenugreek icon
    2 tsp (7g)
  • Salt icon
    about ½ teaspoon (3g)
  • Black pepper icon
    Black pepper
    about ½ teaspoon (1g)
  • Nutmeg icon
    about ½ teaspoon (1g)
  • Cayenne pepper icon
    Cayenne pepper
    4 tbsp (25g)
  • Ground cinnamon icon
    Ground cinnamon
    about ½ teaspoon (1g)
  • Allspice icon
    about ½ teaspoon (1g)
  • Ground coriander icon
    Ground coriander
    about ½ teaspoon (1g)
  • Ginger icon
    about ½ teaspoon (1g)
  • Garlic powder icon
    Garlic powder
    about ½ teaspoon (1g)
  • Ground turmeric icon
    Ground turmeric
    about ½ teaspoon (1g)
  • Ground cloves icon
    Ground cloves
    about ½ teaspoon (1g)
  • Olive oil icon
    Olive oil
    2 tbsp (30ml)
  • Onion icon
    2 (280g)
  • Tomato icon
    4 (560g)
  • Tomato paste icon
    Tomato paste
    2 tsp (11g)
  • Garlic clove icon
    Garlic clove
  • Ginger icon
    1 tsp (2g)
  • Ground cumin icon
    Ground cumin
    1 tsp (2g)
  • Ground cardamom icon
    Ground cardamom
    1 tsp (2g)
  • Red lentils icon
    Red lentils
    1.5 cups (302g)
  • Water icon
    2 cups (480ml)


  • kCook icon Spatula
  • kCook icon Stove
  • kCook icon Skillet pan
  • kCook icon Small bowl
  • kCook icon Stockpot - 5 liter
  • kCook icon Medium cast iron skillet

Step preview

  1. Add fenugreek, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, allspice, ground coriander, ginger, garlic powder, ground turmeric and ground cloves to a clean small bowl
  2. Heat a clean medium cast iron skillet - medium heat
  3. Transfer spices to medium cast iron skillet
  4. Cook until toasted and turn off heat - approx 2 min
  5. Heat a clean stockpot - high heat
  6. Add olive oil and onion to the stockpot
  7. Cook - approx 2 min 30 sec
  8. Transfer spices to stockpot
  9. Mix vigorously
  10. Cook - approx 4 min 30 sec
  11. Add tomato and tomato paste to the stockpot
  12. Stir well
  13. Cook - approx 2 min
  14. Add garlic clove, ginger, ground cumin and ground cardamom to the stockpot
  15. Stir
  16. Simmer - approx 2 min
  17. Add red lentils to the stockpot
  18. Stir vigorously until coated - approx 1 min
  19. Add water to the stockpot
  20. Boil
  21. Simmer while stirring occasionally - approx 45 min
  22. Serve
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