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Ethiopian Kik Alicha Recipe

Ethiopian Kik Alicha Recipe

Kik Alicha is an Ethiopian yellow split pea dish. Besides split peas, the dish contains turmeric, onions, ginger and garlic. All the ingredients except the peas are sautéed together. Once the ingredients have been sautéed, the peas, reserved for last are added and cooked until tender.

Kik Alicha is usually served with injera as the flavors compliment each other but rice is the next popular option.

Split peas are a variety of green or yellow peas that have been dried. Kik Alicha has a mild flavor so some variations use berbere, a traditional Ethiopian seasoning, Ethiopian spiced clarified butter called niteh kibbeh or hot peppers.

An alicha is a meat or vegetable stew. Kik refers to yellow split peas cooked into a stew. It can be eaten as is or in a variety of other ways, including with rice, injera or as part of Yetsom Beyeynetu. Yetsom Beyeynetu is a type of platter made of a variety of vegetables cooked in curry and stews, served on top of a large injera, the traditional sour flavored Ethiopian bread.

Origin & Cultural Significance

A large part of Ethiopian cuisine is made of wot or wat – stews which are so thick, they can be scooped up with a piece of injera- no spoon required. Kik Alicha is a simple dish that showcases the most important components of Ethiopian cuisine, grains, stew and spices introduced from other countries which have become a permanent part of Ethiopian cuisine.

Ethiopian Kik Alicha Recipe

Ethiopian Kik Alicha Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes


  • Dry split yellow peas soaked overnight or 2 hours - 1 cup
  • Water - 3 cups
  • Oil - 4 tsp
  • Red onion, chopped - 1
  • Garlic cloves, minced - 8
  • Ginger, minced - 4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt and Pepper - to taste

Variation for a spicier Wat version

  • Berbere spice blend - 1 tsp


  1. Soak the split peas overnight or at least 2 hours in warm water, drain and rinse.
  2. In a deep pan, add oil, add onions, ginger and garlic and cook stirring occasionally, until translucent.
  3. Add the turmeric and mix well.
  4. Add rinsed split peas, salt, pepper and water.
  5. Mix, cover and bring to a boil on medium heat.
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered for 35-45 minutes or until peas have softened to your desired consistency.
  7. Taste and adjust salt and spice if needed.
  8. Mash the peas slightly, if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 133Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 5g

Photo Credit: stu_spivack

Photo Credit: Lauren Parnell Marino

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