August 06, 2011

Azifa - Ethiopian Lentil Salad

Last year, I was surprised and irritated to discover one of my photos (from the era before I labeled them) was being reproduced all around the internet. Half of my irritation was at the (uncredited) misappropriation of my photo, and half was that it was being wrongly used - it wasn't Azifa at all. The photo had been taken from my old website (linked here)(Update: link has now expired, but you can find the original recipes in the comments below); there are two recipes on the original page - one for the delicious Ethiopian lentil salad called Azifa, and the other was an also fabulous Turkish lentil salad (which I believe translates as ye┼čil mercimek salatasi). There was only one photo, though: the Turkish salad. The photo had been mercilessly hijacked and propagated with the wrong recipe attached (or versions thereof). I figured the tomatoes in the original photo would be a dead giveaway as to which salad was pictured, but no - it turned up on a number of recipe collection sites and even once on the menu of an Ethiopian restaurant. To the best of my knowledge, those copies have now been taken down.

So now, years after posting the original article on two versions of a green lentil salad, and while I'm in a sort of mood of re-addressing old favourites, I thought I would finally give Azifa a photograph of its own. It may not be the prettiest or most colourful salad, but it is delicious! Do check out the comments of this post for the recipe - it's a fine summer dish, especially with a glass of crisp white wine, or a hoppy IPA. It also packs well for lunches (and bento!) and makes a great pita stuffer, but it also pairs beautifully with grilled salmon, or lemony yassa.

Here's a different picture, from a different batch, with different lighting:


Geeky Staci said...

Thanks for leaving these up! Nothing quite like looking for that recipe you bookmarked and finding only dead links!
Going to try your Azifa and possibly the Turkish Lentil Salad too, for my next long hot-weather camping trip. :)

Mulumebet Haileselassie said...

I think this picture looks like split peas salad rather than the lentil salad, the one that you said was wrong looks more lie lentils.

Dawna said...

I know what you mean, Mulumebet - but it's just that these particular green/brown lentils were a bit pale (and there might have been a bit more dressing than strictly necessary).

Imane Daher said...

Tried the link to go to the recipe but couldn't go to the site. Would you please help us and post both recipes on this site???? Sorry if I'm bothering you.
Best Regards,

Dawna said...

Hi Imane, thanks for stopping by. I hadn't noticed that my old website had finally expired!

I will post both recipes in the comments below.

Dawna said...

Ethiopian Azifa (originally published on now-expired site)

1 1/2 cups dry green/brown lentils
1/2 cup red or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 jalapeno chile pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

(instructions below)

Dawna said...

Turkish Lentil Salad (originally published on now-expired site)

1 1/2 cups dry green/brown lentils
3 green onions, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded & diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large sprigs mint, finely chopped
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

(instructions below)

Dawna said...

Assembly directions:

You can use canned lentils - 2 19 oz. cans should do it - but dry lentils are so cheap and cook up in the length of time that it takes to prepare the rest of the ingredients, so that's what I use. If you do use canned lentils, drain them and warm them gently in the microwave before mixing with the other ingredients, so that they will absorb the flavours better.

Wash the dry lentils and remove any discoloured, damaged, or alien-looking matter. Cover with about 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer very gently for 35 minutes, checking periodically to ensure there is enough water. Add a little more water if necessary, so they don't dry out and scorch. You want to simmer them on a low enough heat that they don't get mushy.

In a large bowl, add the chopped vegetables, fresh herbs, and dry spices (excluding salt). In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice and/or vinegar, salt, olive oil, and mustard (Azifa only). Set aside.

When the lentils are finished cooking, drain them well in a mesh strainer or sieve, and add them to the bowl of chopped vegetables. Pour the lemon juice dressing over the lentils and stir the whole thing carefully until all the ingredients are evenly combined. Taste, and add a little extra salt if needed. Cover and chill for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to combine. Serve as a side dish for things like curries, burgers, kebabs, grilled chicken - or simply crammed into a pita pocket with a spoonful of yogurt.