Ethiopian Kik Alicha

Ethiopian Kik Alicha

Rob and I have history with Ethiopian food. When we still lived in Pasadena, Rob took me to LA’s Little Ethiopia (which is like, all of one block) for my first experience with Ethiopian cuisine. I’m ashamed to say it now, but at the time I was not impressed. Driving out to West LA made me grumpy, our food was room temperature, and the spongy, slightly sour bread (injera–which I now love, by the way) weirded me out. After we moved to the Bay Area, Rob somehow convinced me to try again, and LO! I was immediately converted by this amazing restaurant just a few doors down from our church. I wanted to visit every Saturday. In fact, during the third trimester of my pregnancy with #1, we did visit just about every Saturday. (Rob knew better than to say no to me when I was pregnant and sweating through a California summer.) #1 was born with berbere spices coursing through her veins.

Photo Mar 20, 4 44 06 PM

So for our fifth anniversary, how did we celebrate? We took a drive down to Atlanta for some Ethiopian food at a little hole in the wall we visit every time we happen to find ourselves in that neck of the woods. Or when we just can’t go another day without Ethiopian food and are willing to drive two hours to get it, because COME ON, Chattanooga, get with the program!

Photo Mar 20, 4 43 59 PMAnd behold, it was very good.

So, you know me. I had to at least try to recreate Ethiopian goodness at home. I’ve tried a couple of recipes, actually, and while I’ve never pulled off restaurant-worthy wat, this delicious kik alicha comes pretty close to my best Ethiopian experiences.

Time Commitment: The yellow split peas have to simmer for a while, so this takes close to an hour. I really need to try this in the pressure cooker, as I bet I could cut the total time in half. I’ll keep you posted!

Special Equipment: If you have a food processor, you can use it to purée your onions. Otherwise you’ll just have to do a very fine mince, which is kind of a pain.

Mess: If you use your food processor, you’ll have to wash it, obvs. Otherwise it’s a one-pot meal.

Ethiopian Kik AlichaEthiopian Kik Alicha

Adapted from Veggies by Candlelight’s recipe

Serves 4


  • 2 onions (I used sweet onions)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup yellow split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • salt, to taste


  1. Purée onions and garlic in your food processor, or finely mince them.
  2. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until the liquid is gone and they are just turning brown.
  3. To the same pot, add in split peas and cover with three inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes or so, or until peas are tender. You may need to add some more water along the way.
  4. After cooking, stir in tumeric, olive oil, and salt.
  5. Serve with injera or (shortcut for lazy cooks!) storebought naan.