Sweet split peas sure do please

For some reason, kik alicha, a yellow split pea dish from Ethiopia, has a natural sweetness that is addicting and comforting. From the first time I ate it at Massawa Restaurant in San Francisco (now closed), I was hooked, and you will be too.

Serve with garlicky kale or collards, mashed cauliflower, steamed broccoli, or a green salad, with brown or wild rice and soft corn tortillas.

Yellow split pea stew (kik alicha)

  • dried yellow split peas
  • oil
  • onion, chopped
  • jalapeño or serrano chile, chopped (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • ground turmeric
  • ground cardamom
  • fresh lemon juice (optional)
  1. Soak the split peas in hot water for 2 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a deep pan or heavy enamel pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add chile if using and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add peas, salt, pepper, and water (peas to water ratio is 1:3; if using 1 cup peas, add 3 cups water). Stir, cover, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom and cook until peas have softened completely. Adjust seasonings and add lemon juice if using. Mash or blend the peas if you like. 
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2 thoughts on “Sweet split peas sure do please

  1. Nothing more delicious and nutritious than split peas or any dried beans cooked in this form. Varying the spices gives the dish a different “ethnicity”. Is that the right word?

  2. Pingback: A vegetable love letter from Ethiopia | Veghead, etc.

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