Azefa| Ethiopian Lentil Salad

Azefa‘ (also called ‘Azifa‘) is a lentil salad that hails from the exotic land of Ethiopia in Africa, a place I have always dreamt of visiting. Made with different kinds of lentils by different people, this is one of those salads that is simple yet hearty and extremely delicious. The addition of mustard powder is a must in Azefa, which gives it a proper punch.

I recently made Azefa at home for an evening snack, using brown lentils (our very own sabut masoor or whole masoor daal), and it was a huge hit. This Ethiopian Lentil Salad takes just a few minutes to prepare, once you have the ingredients ready, and is super-duper delicious! What’s more, it is oil-free, gluten-free, vegan and protein rich – perfect for weight watchers and diabetics who are looking for a healthy snacking option in between meals. This Ethiopian Lentil Salad is definitely something you must try out too!

I adapted Chef Mireille’s recipe for the Azefa, making a few changes of my own. Here is how I made it.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 1/2 cup whole masoor daal aka brown lentils or sabut masoor
  2. 1 small onion
  3. 1 baby cucumber
  4. 1 baby capsicum
  5. 1 small carrot
  6. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds


1. Take the whole masoor daal in a wide vessel. Wash thoroughly under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the water.

2. Now, add enough fresh water to the washed and drained lentils to cover them. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Cook for 4 whistles on high flame or till the lentils are well cooked and soft. Switch off gas and let the pressure release naturally.

3. Drain out the water from the cooked lentils, and reserve it. Let the lentils cool down completely, then transfer them to a mixing bowl.

4. Chop the onion, cucumber and capsicum finely. Add to the mixing bowl.

5. Peel the carrot and grate it medium-thick. Add to the mixing bowl.

6. Add the finely chopped coriander to the mixing bowl.

7. Powder the salt, red chilli powder and mustard together in a small mixer. Add this powder to the mixing bowl.

8. Add lemon juice to the mixing bowl.

9. Mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl well, but gently. Let the salad sit for about 10 minutes, for the flavours to meld together. Serve immediately.


1. I have used a small yellow capsicum here.

2. Adjust the quantity of salt, red chilli powder, lemon juice and mustard that you use in this Ethiopian Lentil Salad, as per personal taste preferences.

3. Use a seedless variety of cucumber, for best results.

4. You can use any variety of lentils to make Azefa – puy lentils, whole masoor daal, whole green moong and the likes.

5. Make sure the lentils are well-cooked and soft, but not overly mushy. Overcooked lentils will make the salad tasteless.

6. Drain out excess water, if any, from the cooked lentils. Don’t discard this water, but reserve it instead. This water – full of nutrients – can be used in a soup or gravy-based curry or for binding dough for rotis.

7. I have used rock salt – a relatively healthier alternative to commercially available table salt – in this Ethiopian Lentil Salad. You may use regular table salt instead, too.

8. I have used carrot, onion, cucumber and capsicum to make the salad more hearty. You may add in any other vegetables of your choice as well.

9. Several online recipes for Azefa use parsley for additional flavour. I have used fresh coriander (cilantro) instead, which is also a commonly used herb in African cooking, as per my understanding.

10. You can add ready-to-use mustard powder to the Azefa too, but I much prefer using freshly-ground mustard instead.


This post is for the Food Bloggers Recipe Swap group that I am part of. Every month, a bunch of us food bloggers get together, form pairs and cook from each other’s blogs. I was paired with Chef Mireille for the month and, from the hundreds of beautiful recipes on her blog, I zeroed in upon Azefa.

Check out what the other members of the recipe swap group created this month:

Coriander Matar Poha by Mireille| Lemon Rice by Lathiya| Apple Cinnamon Muffins by Ali| Tropical Smoothie by Veena| Sindhi Koki by Pavani| Cream Cheese & Cucumber Sandwich by Jagruti| Black-Eyed Peas & Beets Salad by Usha| Turnip, Beetroot & Radish Coleslaw by Sasmita| Saag Aloo by Sandhya| Burmese Yellow Split Pea Fritters by Debra

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #267. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ and Abbey @ Three Cats and a Girl.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!


28 thoughts on “Azefa| Ethiopian Lentil Salad

  1. I like your version with the added veggies. I remember when I made it I thought the mustard flavor was a bit too strong. This is definitely one of those older posts I need to update. Thanks for reminding me of it!


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