Recipes from Eritrea: Alitcha Birsen (Lentils)

Recipes from Eritrea

Alitcha Birsen (Lentils)

Country: Eritrea
Course: Side
Makes: 6 to 8 servings


  • 5 tbsp sunflower or other vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 oz tomatoes, peeled and sliced*
  • 8 oz lentils
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 fresh red chilies, seeded and minced
  • 4 cups boiling water


  1. Fry the garlic in the oil until it starts to turn a nice golden color, then take it off the heat. Add the sliced tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the lentils and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes.
  2. Add the water and the spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour or until the lentils are tender.