Ethiopian Ater Wat (Yellow Pea Stew)

Alrighty, y’all! We’re on to recipe # 3 for the Ethiopian Bayaynet! Hooray!  This Ater Wat (pea stew) is a nice mild sauce that compliments the Misir Wat very nicely! 

As I mentioned in my last post, I love peas! Green peas! Yellow Peas! Split Peas! You name it!  I LOVE peas!  This recipe calls for split, yellow peas, so, as you can imagine, it’s one of my favorites on the Bayaynet!  There is no added sugar, but because of the natural sweetness of the peas, it adds a delightfully sweet flavor to the whole dish. YUM!

If you don’t have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, this is one of those recipes that you’ll want to plan a little bit ahead for.  I was taught to cook the peas in water the night before until they’re soft.  That way, the cooking process the next day doesn’t take nearly as long.  If you have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot though, you can just cook them the day of, and you don’t have to worry about planning ahead-plus, pressure cooking saves a LOT of cook time!

Ethiopian Ater Wat (Yellow Pea Stew)

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  • 1 cup Yellow Split Peas
  • 1 lb (4 cups) Yellow Onion, diced
  • ¼ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 TBSP Garlic, minced
  • 1 Jalapeño Pepper


Wash the peas.  Place them in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.  Cover them with at least 2 inches of water.

Pressure cook them for 3-4 minutes at high pressure.  Quick release the pressure cooker, and drain and rinse them.  Set them aside, temporarily (or, if you do this the night before, place them in a container in the fridge until you are ready to make the sauce). You can also cook them in a regular pan on the stove. Just triple the amount of water (so 6 cups of water for 2 cups of peas) and simmer on low/medium for 30 minutes. They will still be slightly crunchy, but will finish cooking later with the onion mixture.

Dice the onions and put them in a pan on the stove. Add 1/4 cup of water and simmer on low/medium for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, and if the onions are sticking, just add a splash more of water.

Once the onions are cooked, add the vegetable oil, salt, turmeric, garlic, and partially-cooked peas.  Let it simmer on the stove over low/medium heat for 15 minutes.

Slice the Jalapeño pepper and add it to the pea sauce.  Let it simmer for about 5 minutes on low.

Remove the pot from the heat. Ater Wat is best with Injera–can be served warm or cold.

I’ll go over making Injera in a few weeks so that we can create a full Bayaynet with all of the different sauces we’ve been making.  However, if you are making this sauce before we go over the Injera, I would recommend either finding a local Ethiopian restaurant that you could buy some freshly-made Injera from, or check out this awesome youtube video with a very detailed, step-by-step on creating your own at home.

This particular recipe yields about 2 cups.

Amharic/English Translations for this Recipe:

  • Bayaynet = an assortment of sauces/sides adorning a round platter of Injera
  • Ater = Pea
  • Wat = Stew/Sauce