Ethiopian Lentil & Mustard Salad (Azefa)

Ethiopian Lentil & Mustard Salad (Azefa)

As long as the heat wave in southwestern Ontario keeps going, the culinary themes in Lisa's Kitchen will continue to be: simple, simple and simple! For this reason, I decided to make an "azefa", a classic Ethiopian lentil and mustard seed salad that not only fits the bill for being simple but has an astonishing blend of earthy and pungent flavors that will strike anyone's attention, not to mention help them sweat out the heat. Unlike pre-prepared mustards whose flavor is diluted by time and packaging, fresh ground mustard seeds mixed with a little boiling water gives the spicy mustard dressing in azefa a fresh and powerful kick.

I've adapted my azefa from one given in Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, which has been for years now an indispensable resource to me for fast, simple, exotic and delicious vegetarian recipes. I substituted fresh jalapeño peppers from my garden for the 1/2 green bell pepper that she suggests and, of course, by ratcheting up the cayenne a little. If you want to tone down the heat, I'd recommend reducing the cayenne to a 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon instead of sacrificing the hot peppers, which I've found to be an essential part of this and other azefa recipes. Similarly, the addition of a pint of grape tomatoes or one large diced tomato will help mellow the palate's reaction to the hot mustard dressing. One small chopped onion may be added as well.

Ethiopian Lentil & Mustard Salad (Azefa)Ethiopian Lentil & Mustard Salad (Azefa)
Recipe by
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Published on August 7, 2007

Simple, nourishing and zesty lentil salad with a tangy and spicy mustard dressing

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

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  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • juice of 1 to 2 lemons (3 to 6 tablespoons), to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 4 jalapeños or green chilies, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch matchsticks
  • Rinse the lentils and put into a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

  • Add the mustard seeds, peppercorns, salt and cayenne into a clean coffee or spice grinder and grind finely. Put into a small bowl and mix well with 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Now add the lemon juice and olive oil and stir to combine.

  • Pour the jalapeños or chilies and dressing over the lentils and toss thoroughly. Serve warm or chilled.

Makes 4 to 6 servings


Lucy said...

Delicious. Perfect hot weather food.

Manjula said...

Just love the variety of cuisines you have covered. Every recipe is so different, earthy and healthy.

LisaRene said...

Hello, I'm having fun looking through your blog after finding you via the Heart of the Matter soup round up. Your lentil mustard salad caught my eye. My husband just loves mustard and I am always looking for new ways to use mustard seeds in recipes.

Your blog is full of lovely recipes!

Soma said...

This is such a great recipe. Quick easy & with all my favorite spice & flavors going in there. I always meke these kinda quick things thur spring & summer!