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Shiro Wot Recipe

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I thought that it is made with green lentils and they are made into a puree.

However, I googled and found that some are made with green lentils and some are made with other beans and some are made with chickpea flour.

Unfortunately, I do not know any Ethiopians, so I don't have anyone I could ask.

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I have this cookbook "Taste of Ethiopia: The Other Good Food," which was recommended in a previous thread here on eGullet. I have yet to cook a thing out of it, but it looks pretty good in that it doesn't seem to dumb down ingredients, and some recipes are quite similar to those found in the Froog's "The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors," which I've used to turn out some very good dishes.

Anyhoo, the "Yeshiro We't" recipe might be what you're looking for. But the interesting thing is that the first ingredient is "4 tbsp powdered peas." Which requires lots of flipping through the rest of the book to sort out what that is.

So there's a recipe in the back for "Mit'in Shiro," or hot powdered peas. Flipping around more, this ingredient is called for in several other dishes that have the word "shiro" in the name.

I don't want to type up the whole thing, because it's copyrighted, but the gist is this:

1) Roast dry chickpeas, split peas, split lentils and fava beans.

2) Cook garlic, ginger and onions and "toast it in a low heat until dry." Might need to flip around in the book more to sort out this technique...

3) Roast cardamom, fenugreek, coriander, rue seed (tena adam), besobila and salt.

4) Mix together with berbere (for which there's a separate recipe) and pound into a fine powder.

Labor-intensive, but intriguing... and possibly more complicated than your local Ethiopian joint even goes for.

Hmm. Now I see the book seems to be out of print. I suppose I could type up the recipe. But now I'm bound for bed. Will have to wait till tomorrow--sorry. But I hope this points in the right direction.

Zora O’Neill aka "Zora"

Roving Gastronome

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Sorry I can't help you with a recipe, but every Ethiopian restaurant I've been to uses pureed chickpeas in their shiro watt. The menus almost always say "chickpeas" and the taste is undeniably hummus-like.

That's one of the two red colored dishes on the veggie combo. The other (I forget the name) is made with red lentils.

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Here's the Mit'in Shiro recipe I described above. Presumably, you could just leave out the berbere to make the non-hot version? Or maybe leave out all the spices and just grind up the toasted peas?

I tried to clarify the directions, but I didn't change the proportions, of course. This cookbook hasn't really been vetted for consistency...

1/2 c. split chickpeas

3 c. split peas

1/2 c. split lentils

1/2 c. split fava beans

Roast these and set aside.

2 tbsp. garlic, chopped

2 tbsp. ginger, chopped

1 c. onions, chopped

"Place...on a pan and toast it in a low heat until dry." Hmm.

1/3 c. rue seed (tena adam)

1 tbsp. fenugreek

1 tbsp. basil (besobila) [[unclear if this is seed or leaf]]

1 tbsp. cardamom

1 tbsp. coriander [[seeds, I guess?]]

salt to taste

Toast all these for about 2 minutes.

Mix everything together with 1 c. berbere and pound to a fine powder.

This mixture is then ready to make Yemitin Shiro We't:

For 2 servings:

2 tbsp Mitin Shiro (above)

--Mix with 1 c. water, stirring to remove lumps

2 shallots, chopped

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

--Cook in a saucepan for 3 minutes. Add 2 c. water and bring to boil. Pour in shiro mixture, stirring continuously. Let simmer for 30 mins until thick and smooth.

That sounds very weird--2 tbsp. of powdered peas dissolved in 3 c. of water? Hmm.

Then there's the recipe for Yeshiro We't, which I'm transcribing word for word, because the instructions are open to interpretation...

For 5 servings:

4 tbsp. powdered peas [[not spicy, I'm guessing]]

3 c. water

1/2 c. onion, chopped

1/2 c. vegetable oil

salt to taste

1 tbsp. ginger, diced

1 tbsp. garlic, diced

2 tbsp. berbere

1 tbsp. key we't kemem [[a whole other recipe: 1/2 lb. ajwain seed (nech azmud), 1/2 lb. black cumin (tiqur azmud), 2 tbsp. dry ginger, 2 tbsp. dry garlic, 3 tbsp. cardamom...but I doubt you want a whole pound of the stuff]]

--Cook onion until soft and brown, add water to prevent burning or sticking.

--Add garlic, ginger, berbere, key we't kemem and oil, stirring constantly for 10 minutes at low temperature.

--Add 3 c. of water and wait until boil.

--In a small bowl, mix powdered peas with water until thick and smooth.

--Simmer for about 40 minutes in a very low heat stirring occasionally.

--Remove from heat let it stand. Refrigerate.

Ay yi yi. The pic that accompanies is a very dark brown.

By contrast, on the next page is the recipe for Yeshiro Alich'a We't, which is yellowish, and differs only in the last ingredient: 1/2 tbsp. alecha we't kemem, which is 1/2 lb. dry ginger, 1/2 lb. dry garlic, and 1/2 c. basil (leaves? seeds?). (For some reason, this recipe serves 4.)

Sooo, clear as mud. I guess the moral of the story is you can use a mixture of lentils, peas, etc., and then decide which way you want to go with the spicing: intense or mild....

Zora O’Neill aka "Zora"

Roving Gastronome

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All - I went to my favourite Ethiopian restaurant today and cajoled the cook into giving me the authentic recipe for this dish. Since she could not write English (!) I had to transcribe it verbally. This may need some tweaking, as the measurements she gave me were not exact, but it's pretty darned close!

I will try and buy some shiro powder and test this recipe - anyone who HAS access to it now, please try it and tell me (and everyone else) how it worked out! :)

cheers, JH


Shiro Wot (Ethiopian Jewish Vegetarian)

4 tablespoons oil

1/4 cup minced onion or pureed in a food processor

1 tomato, chopped fine or pureed in a food processor

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine or pureed in a food processor

4 teaspoons shiro powder (the chef didn't say, but I assume we're talking about the spiced version)

1/2 cup water

1 green chili pepper, slit



Heat oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft and just starting to brown. Add tomato and garlic to the onion and saute a bit. Add shiro powder and saute 2-3 minutes. Add water, mix and cover - cook over medium for 10 minutes. During the last minute, add in some butter and salt and the slit chili pepper - remove chili pepper before serving, it is for aroma only.

JH note - for a spicier version, instead of butter, use Niter Kebbeh (Ethiopian Curried Butter)

Edited by jhirshon (log)
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I ate at my favorite Ethiopian place for lunch today. My favorite dish is the Shero Wat, and when I asked, the waitress said that they used chickpeas. I have purchased Mit'n'shiro from one of the local Ethiopian grocers but it did not turn out as I would have liked. The other red dish is a spicy red lentil dish called Mesir Wat, or Ye'me(i)sir Wat. Fabulous stuff!. The only dish so far that I'm not too wild about is the mild yellow lentils i think called yekik alitcha. I could eat there every day and be quite content. There are quite a few Ethiopian restaurants in Dallas, but they seem to go in and out of business and change owners a lot. My second fav is under new ownership and has a new name, so who knows what will become of it.

I think its time for another trip to my neighborhood Ethio-grocer!

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OOh, the yellow lentils- I love those. Those are really easy to make, just spiced butter, garlic, anaheim pepper and fresh ginger. The restaurant I go to calls them yemesir alecha.

From reactions I get from people that I go with, it seems like yemesir wat is the favorite. The chickpea paste, at least for first timers, seems to not go over too well. I love the stuff, though. The only traditionally veg. dish I don't like is the green cold one with lots of raw peppers (green or chili, I'm not sure). I go wild for the cabbage and carrots. I'm not big on green beans, but the way they do them I like.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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  • 2 months later...

Perfect timing!!

I am standing next to a very nice woman from Addis Abba who JUST gave me some shirro powder that was brought back to the States from her native country. She's been telling me about Lent in Ethiopia and the dietary restrictions this time of year requires.

She also gave me the following recipe, which, granted, requires the use of the spiced powder (or flour) that features a type of dried pea that a little bit different from split peas many of us know.

It's roasted first, and after a series of other steps, flavored with a mixture that usually includes roasted Fenugreek, garlic, ginger, an Ethiopian type of basil and sometimes thyme. All are added before ingredients are pulverized.

Her recipe is similar to the version posted directly before my reply:

Shirro Watt

1/2 to 1 onion finely minced but never liquified in processor.

1/4 to 1/2 t minced garlic*

2 t of olive oil (or butter or cooking oil)

1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and quartered

Salt to taste

2 T of shirro

Bring 2 cups of water to boil with the onion and oil.

Sprinkle the shirro into the water or rub it between your fingers in one hand while whisking continuously with the other hand. See each grain as it falls, blah, blah, blah...just don't let it clump. Never, never let lumps form. Continue whisking for a moment until you're sure everything is evenly integrated.

Sometimes it will froth. That's fine.

Cover pot after adding the jalapena pepper(s). Don't cook too long. (I'll let you know what this means later.)

Sorry if these steps are not precise, but no one really uses recipes. I plan to try the recipe myself some time later in the week or this weekend. I will report back and refine the steps if necessary.

*My consultant tells me that what I can do is mix the same amount of garlic and fresh gingerroot together, whirl it in the food processor with a tiny bit of oil, and use this instead. Good brushed on salmon before broiling, too. Just good to have around, period, for a variety of uses.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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