When I am making a recipe for the first time I try to stick pretty close to the original recipe before putting my own spin on it. Making Saturday’s red lentil stew, I knew I would need to make at least one major change. The recipe called for 1.5 tablespoons of Berbere spice. The Berbere that we have is from Penzy’x and it is mega-hot! John and I, especially John, like spicy food but even though we reduced the Berbere to 1 teaspoon he thought we should maybe cut it back a little more next time. So start slowly adding the Berbere or else you might not be able to eat your finished dish.
Other changes we made were to add a teaspoon of cumin seed which we cooked first in the oil until it started making little popping sounds. I used half of a large onion which I think made more like a cup and a half of chopped onion. Finally we served this over raw kale greens rather than rice. The kale wilts under the heat of the lentils. I picked out the hard stems and let them cook with the lentils. Portion-size-wise I think the recipe is good for 2 rather than 4. Maybe if you are having rice with it, you can stretch it further.
I thought our dinner was good, not great. If I am using red lentils I really prefer the Afghani dal that we make. It has more depth of flavor. I think we might try this again but add some more flavor instead of just heat.