This lentil dish is the wat I make most often. To the best of my understanding, adding chicken or hard-boiled eggs to this dish would turn it into Doro Wat, but I usually make Tibs to accompany this instead. Guess what recipe I'll be posting next time??? :)
To make this dish really authentic, you need to find red lentils. Not green, yellow or the normal brown kind. The taste and texture of red lentils is completely different from any of those others. However, that being said, if you are desperate, and don't know what the good stuff tastes like, brown lentils will be fine.
Rinse your lentils, cover with water and simmer until softened. Add more water as needed.
Chop tomato, onion (lots of onion!), press several garlic cloves and chop up some fresh gingeroot. Throw it all into a saucepan and add a little water or olive oil. Cook until onions are tender.
Add cooked lentils to veggies. Add spices. Here's the deal with the spices. I pretty much add whatever combination sounds good to me at the time. Sacrilege, I know. Sometimes I keep it simple with just a little cardamom. Sometimes I go all out and add tumeric, cardamom, and this cool mustard Mina gave me (not regular Walmart dry mustard, believe me.) And I often stir in a little of the niter kibbeh when it's done cooking. Oh yeah, and the chili. Ahhh, the chili. I have no idea what kind it is-- but it's yuuuummy. I almost always add that. It's more like cayenne than mexican chili powder like you'd use for tacos, in case you're looking for a substitute. And, of course, salt to taste.
After you add the spices, go ahead and cook a few more minutes to give them some time to settle in. Serve and enjoy!
Tip: be sure to keep adding water as needed. You want a stew-like consistency in the end.