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Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew

Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew (Kik Alicha)

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  • Author: Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 48 Minutes + Over Night Bean Soaking/Quick Soak
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Ethiopian


Raise your hand if you love Ethiopian food! We’ve got both hands enthusiastically stretched to the sky! Creamy, cozy, and bursting with flavor, this Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew (Kik Alicha) is packed with hearty, healthy, and satisfying goodness that is sure to make dinner a happy place of comforting deliciousness.  Simple and inexpensive come together stew is perfect for ladling over injera, rice, potatoes, and more! A tasty dish that is sure to have the family running back for seconds.

Whole Food Plant Based, vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, no highly processed ingredients, and gluten free.


  • 1 ½ cups dry yellow split peas
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, small dice
  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced garlic(about 8 to 9 cloves)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced (about 4 inch branch)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth *(see notes about ratio)
  • 2 cups water

Spice Mix/Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dried minced onion flakes
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric (+/- to taste) *
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander (+/- to taste) *
  • Pinch of cumin (+/-  to taste) *
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon sea salt (+/- to taste) *
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper (+/- )

Other Ingredients

  • Steamed rice of choice
  • Baked/Boiled potatoes of choice
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Flatbread


  1. Review the Notes section to determine your options on cooking yellow split peas: Overnight soak, quick method, or stovetop cooking.
  2. In a large ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven/pot or similarly large stockpot, add the finely diced onion and jalapeno peppers.  Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions and peppers are tender.  (If needed to prevent sticking, add a splash of vegetable broth or water). Add the minced garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds.
  3. Then add the spices: onion powder, garlic powder, dried minced onion flakes, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black pepper, and sea salt; sauté for 30 seconds to one minute to release the spice fragrance.
  4. Add the water, vegetable broth, and split yellow peas, bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer.  Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  5. After 1 hour and 15 minutes, remove the lid and cook for another 15 minutes, then check the to see if the yellow split peas are tender. This time can vary greatly largely dependent upon which cooking/presoaking of the yellow split peas was taken.  Anywhere from 1 ½ hours to 2 hours, see cooking yellow split peas in the notes section.
  6. Once the yellow split peas are tender, remove about one cup of split peas, mash, then return to the pot. Taste the stew, adjust spices as needed (see notes section on spices).  This thickens the stew into a heartier texture.
  7. Serve over your favorite rice or potatoes or with your favorite flatbread or pita.


*Cooking Time for Yellow Split Peas:  Yellow split peas do not require soaking; however, you can cut down the cooking time of the yellow split peas if you presoak them overnight as they can take up to well over an hour and up to two hours to cook. To soak them overnight, simply place the cleaned and rinsed split peas into a bowl and cover generously with water and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator.  OR you can also follow a quick method which is to place the yellow split peas in a pot, cover them with water (at least 3 inches), bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, cover with a lid, remove from the stove and allow to sit for one hour undisturbed. We strongly recommend pre-soaking of the yellow split peas overnight in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that there are other factors that influence the cooking time such as the age of the yellow split peas, older yellow split peas take longer to cook as they tend to become drier and harder as they age.

*Vegetable Stock:  We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients; however, this brand of vegetable stock does have a strong flavor so less broth is required when compared to the water ratio. We use a higher water to broth ratio because of this. If you are using a brand other than Pacific vegetable broth, then consider adjusting the water/vegetable broth ratio accordingly.  For example, if you are using a very mellow vegetable broth, you might consider 3 ½ cups of vegetable broth and ½ cup of water for this recipe. Please adjust the recipe (broth/water ratio) accordingly based upon the vegetable broth brand used if using other than Pacific Organic Vegetable Stock.

*Spice Blend: Some spices tend to mellow over a long cooking process. The longer you cook them the more they tend to neutralize. What may appear to be a perfect blend of seasoning early on, could mellow out over time, ramp up any spices as needed toward the end of the cooking process.  If using an Instant Pot, you can add more spices and use the sauté mode to cook them for the additional time.  Just stay with them and stir occasionally.

*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.

*Instant Pot: We get a lot of questions on Instant Pot.  We tried both the stove top method, and using an Instant Pot. We preferred the stove top method simply because we had more control over the texture of the split yellow peas.  We used the sauté function for the onions and jalapeno peppers for 7 minutes, then added the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds, then added the spices for 30 seconds to release their fragrance, then added all the remaining ingredients (reduce the water to 1 cup), stir well, then set the manual pressure high for 11 minutes, then waited 20 minutes and did a natural release.  Again, it was difficult to get the texture of the yellow split peas consistent (some were still hard, some were completely soft).  It was very frustrating.

*Servings:  4

*Storage: Refrigerate and use within 5 days. Freezes well.