Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew)

March 11, 2014
Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew) - A simple, mild, and inexpensive stew. A nice diversion from spiciness typically found in Ethiopian cuisine

This week I was reminded of a lesson on the power of caring for one's self, from two incredibly beautiful women, who are both in their 60s

Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew) - A simple, mild, and inexpensive stew. A nice diversion from spiciness typically found in Ethiopian cuisine

Jump to Recipe

I settled onto the comfy sofa in the waiting room of Toyota's service department.  As one hand rummaged through my backpack, my eyes caught a glimpse of People Magazine. “Oh my gosh, is that right??  Christie Brinkley is 60!”


No gimmicks or plastic surgery.  Instead she's lived a life of clean eating, daily exercise, a positive attitude, and staying engaged with the world around her. Not perfectly, but consistently; for a very, very long time

(ps: She also credits monthly facials & hair extensions.  I had to smile)

Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew) - A simple, mild, and inexpensive stew. A nice diversion from spiciness typically found in Ethiopian cuisine

A few nights later, I stood in front of a room full of people; lucky enough to say a few words about each of the women I'd coached through the latest 9-week health challenge   Each had done beautifully, accomplishing so very much; it was fun to celebrate not only for them but with them as well

As I neared the end of my stories, I grew ever more excited to share about a woman; I now get to call friend.  In two short weeks, she'll be 67; as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside.

Her job is physical, working outdoors in the elements rain or shine, and logging more steps on her Fitbit than most will in their entire day.  After work, she comes to a rigorous exercise class before heading home to a life filled with kids, grandkids, friends, and neighbors.

Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew) - A simple, mild, and inexpensive stew. A nice diversion from spiciness typically found in Ethiopian cuisine

She's done it consistently for many, many years; never complaining, everything done with a smile and a twinkle in her eye. If you asked her (I did), she feels like she's 25.

I told her that night, in front of everyone that I hope I've helped her, but at the same time, she's done just as much for me.  One day, when I'm her age, I want to follow in her footsteps.  A shining example to someone else of the power of being kind to your body, feeding it well, staying in motion, and never slowing down on the journey to be just a little better each and every day

Over the weekend we cooked one of her favorite meals to give to her.  Kik Alicha, a classic Ethiopian dish Kathie brought (from Minneapolis!) to January's food swap.

Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew) - A simple, mild, and inexpensive stew. A nice diversion from spiciness typically found in Ethiopian cuisine

Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew) - A simple, mild, and inexpensive stew. A nice diversion from spiciness typically found in Ethiopian cuisine

It's a simple stew; inexpensive to make, full of onions, garlic, and split peas.  It's mild as well as savory, creamy yet not oily, a wonderful diversion from the spiciness that typically accompanies Ethiopian cuisine.

Serve with injera instead of eating utensils if you'd like to be truly authentic.



ps:  Thank-you Kathie for making the 3 hour trip to come to our swap!  The effort was non-trivial, and we're so very glad you did.  Please, come again anytime .. 

Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew)


  • 5 large purple onions
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • One 16 oz. bag yellow split peas
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • fresh minced garlic, to taste
  • salt, to taste


  • In large, heavy pot, cover peas with 3” water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook till tender, about 30-45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, puree the onions in a food processor or blender. Cook the puree in heavy pot until they're tender and just staring to turn brown (note: they will be dry).
  • Add the olive oil, tumeric and strong pinch of salt, stirring to combine.
  • Add the cooked split peas (water included) to the onion mixture, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook to a consistency similar to pea soup.
  • Stir in garlic and serve with injera
Serves: 12
Nutrition + Show
Calories 313
Total Fat 18.1g
Saturated Fat 2.5g
Carbohydrates 28.5g
Fiber 10.6g
Sugars 5.9g
Protein 10.4g
Print This Recipe

You Might Also Like


  • Reply 5 Things I Loved About Last Week #celebratelu 10/18/14 | the dirigible plum October 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

    […] then I made Red Lentil Stew, Yellow Split Pea Stew, Gomen (which I made with chard–terrific recipe), Shiro, and Cabbage and Potatoes. I […]

  • Reply The Supper Files April 25, 2016 at 8:42 am

    […] Adapted from Veggies by Candlelight’s recipe […]

  • Reply Chanel van Reenen January 12, 2017 at 11:22 am

    5 stars
    This looks outrageously good. I wouldn’t even need the injera…just a spoon! I adore Ethiopian food.

  • Reply Tania Potter January 12, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    One of my staple snacks is a Greek variation of this. The recipe is similar, it is just served with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh onion sliced n top. Fingers crossed I too can be a fabulous 67 year old!

  • Reply Amanda January 12, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Can’t wait to make this! It’s my favorite dish at the neighborhood Ethiopian restaurant.

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus January 12, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I have to confess I have never tried Ethiopian food but this split pea stew looks delicious! It looks very similar to daal!

  • Reply Katherine Turro January 12, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    This looks delicious! I love Ethiopian food but I’ve never tried making it at home – you make it look easy!

  • Reply Debonita January 13, 2017 at 3:30 am

    wow looks delicious. I have never tried Ethiopian food, I have discovered something new today.

  • Reply Madeline January 13, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I love the sound of the flavors in this veggie stew! So bright and colorful too.

  • Reply Mama Munchkin January 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I’m so excited to try this. We are an adoptive family and I have a son from Ethiopia. Not very many recipes out there so this will be special. I’m going to be 35 next week and I am trying my best to eat clean and be happy bc I want to live a long and healthy life.

  • Reply David January 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I never tasted something like this or simmilair. I would have to try, it sounds amazing.

  • Reply emma white January 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    oh this looks and sounds pretty amazing and I really should give it a try for myself

  • Reply Freya January 14, 2017 at 5:18 am

    This recipe looks delicious! and dare I say it, fairly straightforward and something I could definitely have a go at!

  • Reply kathryn Maher January 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Lovely recipe and very healthy ingredients. I must try it. I love split peas.

  • Reply Eugenia January 15, 2017 at 11:31 am

    5 stars
    I’ve never tried Ethopian food but this yellow split pea stew looks so yummy! Amazing recipe, I definitely should try to make it!

    • Reply Fassica July 23, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      5 stars
      Hi Eugenia,
      I recommend you try it out. Ethiopian food has a variety of vegetarian options that are healthy and full of nutrients.

  • Reply Mary January 16, 2017 at 11:43 am

    This looks really delicious. I’ve never tried Ethiopian food, but I’d definitely try this!

  • Reply suchin January 16, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Love Ethiopian food &love the lentil stew!!! Thank for sharing the recipe!

  • Reply Ana January 17, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    5 stars
    I love Ethiopian cuisine! Last month I went to an Ethiopian restaurant and tried Kik Alicha and loved it! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us!

  • Reply Tom callahan March 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Does anyone know a recipe for spicy peas with berbere? Years ago I found one and remember it had a cup of oil in the ingredients!!!! I won’t do that, but maybe your recipe would just require berbere instead of tumeric. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  • Reply Rhonda April 26, 2017 at 1:57 am

    I imagine the taste too foreign for me. I haven’t tried Ethiopian dish before so this must be interesting. There aren’t many people who at age 67 still are active in exercise. Good for her!

  • Reply Dusica (Didi) April 26, 2017 at 3:19 am

    Another lovely health advice and recipe. Your posts help me to choose and prepare my weekly menu 🙂

  • Reply Marilyn April 26, 2017 at 4:00 am

    Woow, that is something different to my tastebuds I think. I never tasted as such but I want to try. I want to taste the culture of Ethiopia. They say you can experience certain culture through food.

  • Reply Laura April 26, 2017 at 5:02 am

    Ive never tried split peas! I’m not even sure where I would buy them, it sounds like something I would really love to try. I will check out the world foods section in my supermarket!

  • Reply Lisa prince April 26, 2017 at 5:49 am

    this looks andsounds actually nicer than i thought it would i would love to give this a try

  • Reply Rachel April 26, 2017 at 6:32 am

    What a lovely article, that lady sure sounds like an inspiration on how to age well. I think the recipe is interesting, too….I do like all the ingredients so I might just give it a go, thanks!

  • Reply Melanie April 26, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Loving this recipe, very different and looks like it will be well worth a go!! 🙂 x

  • Reply Gareth Torrance April 26, 2017 at 7:25 am

    5 stars
    Never tried yellow split pea soup… In fact, I don’t think I’ve tried any type of split pea soup. Gonna have to give this a go!

  • Reply Tanya April 26, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I can’t say I’ve ever eaten Ethiopian cuisine but I love that this has such few ingredients

  • Reply Elodie April 26, 2017 at 9:18 am

    5 stars
    This sounds delicious and pretty easy to make! Loved the article too. I can only wish to age as well as that lady, that’s for sure!

  • Reply Katie Kinsley April 26, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I’ve eaten Ethiopian food once before and it was so good. I made sure to go to a buffet so I could try several dishes.

  • Reply Paula Schuck April 26, 2017 at 11:25 am

    5 stars
    This sounds so delicious. What an amazing blend of ingredients. We may have to try this.

  • Reply Melanie April 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Wow I have never made this before but it does sound delicious. I’d probably use carrot sticks with it as I’m trying to increase my vegetable intake.

  • Reply Debbie April 26, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    5 stars
    Wow this looks amazing – I am going to give it a try, I bet my daughter would enjoy it too. And it looks quite good for you too – I need that in my life!

  • Reply Dipti April 26, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I am a vegan.This looks good for me:)..Thanks for the recipe.

  • Reply Lindsey April 26, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I have never tried any dishes from Ethiopia before. I am really intrigued and delighted to give this a go, especially now that it has gotten chilly again, so this would be the perfect thing to warm me up.

  • Reply lisalisa April 26, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    This looks tasty, I wonder if I can get the family to try it! Maybe I’ll try it this weekend and see what they say, you know how kids can be. So picky but I love split peas myself!

  • Reply Kathy Myers April 26, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I have a stack of your recipes to try, now I am going to have to add this. I want to try it for my church potluck!

  • Reply Tonya Wilhelm April 26, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    I’m not sure if this is one that would tickle my taste buds. I do like garlic, but turmeric is hard for me. Super healthy, but not a taste I love. The bread looks yummy!

  • Reply Lillian April 26, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    My goal for this summer as a university student is to learn how to cook, and I will definitely be adding this to my list. Thank you!

  • Reply Tiara Wilson April 26, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Wow. I have never heard of this. I am currently adding new recipes to my recipe book and I’m going to have to add this one. It looks absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Censie Sawyer April 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I have never heard of this stew recipe before. Sounds like a great one to try. Looks pretty easy to make too. Love that! Thanks for the great menu idea.

  • Reply Jacqui S April 26, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    4 stars
    This looks like an interesting recipe! I’ve never tried split pea soup, to be honest, but my son loves it. May have to consider trying this. Thank you for sharing! I’ll be adding it to my recipe box.

  • Reply Elizabeth O. April 26, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    There’s really so much that living a healthy can do. It’s not just about the weight loss or being fit, it’s also about aging gracefully without the threats of illnesses and such.

  • Reply Carol Cassara April 26, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    That’s lovely. I decided to live healthier this year as a promise to myself and my husband that I’d like to be more fit and healthy and able to do the things that I can finally enjoy. This sounds like a lovely recipe!

  • Reply Tiina A April 27, 2017 at 3:01 am

    Once again you are introducing a recipe which is absolutely perfect for me! all those ingredients are those what I love to add into my cookings. Haven’t had a stew for a long time so it’s time to prepair one.

    ps. I have tried to rate (5 stars!) your recipes but haven’t succeed in it.

  • Reply Rhian Westbury April 27, 2017 at 3:31 am

    Sometimes I also look at older women and admire how they’re leading their lives. It really goes to show how much difference diet and exercise can make x

  • Reply Hannah April 27, 2017 at 4:06 am

    This sounds like an interesting recipe. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Joanna April 27, 2017 at 4:15 am

    I have only tried Ethiopian food once in my life and I remember that specific type bread that you grab the food with. I really enjoyed the ritual of eating Ethiopian food, as it is an actual celebration, with the big bread in the middle, with different dishes on top, like the yellow split pea stew.

  • Reply Stephanie Merry April 27, 2017 at 4:53 am

    This looks delicious! I’ve never tried to make Ethiopian food before but I might have to give this a go this weekend x

  • Reply Kiwi April 27, 2017 at 4:54 am

    i am so open to eating food of different culture. I dont think I have had Ethopian food before but I would like to try it!

  • Reply Ashleigh April 27, 2017 at 6:31 am

    My dad is forever making different stews, so I will have to pass this recipe on!

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus April 27, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Holy cow! I can’t believe she is 60 she looks incredible! I like that she is very natural and still hands on with her kids. I like the sound of this delicious looking split pea stew too x

  • Reply Amelia Larsen April 27, 2017 at 9:47 am

    5 stars
    I’ve never tried any Ethiopian food before but this stew looks delicious!

  • Reply Karen Jolly April 27, 2017 at 10:59 am

    One of my favorites, veggies stew and the pancakes! Thanks for the recipe you share.

  • Reply Erinn Sluka April 27, 2017 at 11:44 am

    4 stars
    I have never heard of this dish. I love that this can be made with our eating regimen. Love the ingredients

  • Reply Annie B April 27, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    This is making me hungry! Might try to recreate this at the weekend

  • Reply Adriana April 27, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    This looks so great! It has to be a great dinner idea. I love everything in it too, so I will definitely have to try this out! Can’t wait to see how it turns out, YUM! Awesome dish and ooh I love your pictures!

  • Reply Jena Recer April 28, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Kik Alicha is one of my favorite foods. I discovered it eating out at Ethiopian restaurants. I was very excited to try this recipe. I was disappointed in the results. There are so many onions in this recipe that it takes more like onion stew then Kik Alicha. I tried making it with 1/2 the onions the second time and it was still hard to taste the peas. I think using fresh ginger and fresh turmeric would help. If anyone has a suggestion for making this taste more authentic, I’m very interested.

  • Reply Lindsey April 28, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I have never tried Ethiopian food, but it looks delicious.

  • Reply Jessica April 28, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I have never tried Ethiopian dishes before. This looks really delicious and simple to make. I love that it is healthy. We are working on eating more healthy because we know it will help a lot physically.

  • Reply Natasha Mairs April 28, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    This looks and sounds really nice and something I would really enjoy. Pinned it so I can give it a try

  • Reply melissa major April 28, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    This looks very nice, I will have to make it one day! I will have to pin it for later

  • Reply Danasia April 28, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    I cannot believe Christie Brinkley is 60! She looks incredible. I love this recipe too!

  • Reply Janet Yarwood April 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Wow, she sounds like such an inspirational woman. That stew sounds amazing to, adding it to my to-do list

  • Reply Louise April 29, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Love this post very inspiring ? I feel every day that there are things to learn X

  • Reply Francesca April 30, 2017 at 1:46 am

    This looks deliscious its like one of those really heart at home foods I love that! Real good comfort food!

  • Reply Tanya Brannan April 30, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    This recipe sounds seriously tasty and even better is looks super simple! Thank you for sharing it xx

  • Reply Dannii May 1, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    This looks like a really comforting, healthy and budget friendly meal. It sounds delicious

  • Reply Chloe May 9, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    oooo this looks so yummy, i need to give this a whirl xo

  • Reply Danik June 23, 2017 at 6:07 am

    4 stars
    I made my first batch and it was AWESOME! For some reason, I had to cook for almost an hour and I think the peas could still have been softer. Also, I couldn’t find yellow so made it just with green. Thank you again!

  • Reply Heather June 23, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Your friend sounds pretty amazing! I wish I had her energy and I’m only 40 🙂 And Christie Brinkley? She still looks amazing. Love the inspiration!

  • Reply Sarah Bailey June 23, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I’ve heard of split pea stew, but other than the obvious I actually had no idea what it really is. It sounds so interesting, I would definitely look to try it.

  • Reply Doria June 23, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Aw it sounds like you’ve created quite the little community! We absolutely love Ethiopian food, it is so delicious, but I’ve never tried making it self–maybe it’s time?

  • Reply Heather June 23, 2017 at 10:15 am

    I love trying new and different recipes. I don’t believe I have ever tried anything Ethiopian. Are you supposed to eat with your hands with this cuisine?

  • Reply Heather June 23, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Gosh, I’m amazed at her stamina, how she’s able to do all she does at her age and still feel like she’s 25. I want to be like her too!

  • Reply Helena June 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    As an avid Ethiopian food fan since about 1998 when I first visited Axum in San Francisco. It’s been my favorite! This is such a great recipe and tastes authentic. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply Jenn June 23, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    I have never tried Ethiopian food of any kind. Our teenage daughter lives a vegan lifestyle, and eats mostly clean food. I suspect she will also look amazing at sixty.

  • Reply Claudia Krusch June 23, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    5 stars
    I can not believe Christie Brinkley is 60! She looks amazing. I have never tried Ethiopian cuisine. This split pea soup looks like comfort food to me. I will have to try this recipe it wil be perfect with all the rain we have been having.

  • Reply Franc Ramon June 23, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    It’s nice to maintain an active lifestyle especially as we grow older. It’s nice that your friend even when she’s about to turn 67 remains to be a fitspiration.

  • Reply Lisa June 23, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I have been looking for a good homemade recipe of Kik Alicha. It’s one of my favorite Ethiopian recipes and I don’t get to eat it enough.

  • Reply Eloise June 23, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Now this is something new I’ve never tried! I’ll have to save this post to refer back to it and give this a try. I’m always looking for new foods to try and also so my kids are able to expand their tastebuds. Thanks!

  • Reply Debra J Hawkins June 24, 2017 at 1:18 am

    I am terrible about caring for myself! It is something that I need to be better about, it seems like people who live long are good at caring for themselves.

  • Reply Sara June 24, 2017 at 6:08 am

    I love split peas, they are full of protein and taste delicious. I can’t believe I have never tried to make a stew with them. Definitely trying these soon!

  • Reply Amanda June 24, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I must admit that I have never tried Ethiopian food because I tend to be a bit picky, but your pictures are stunning. It is great to eat with more adventure every once in a while.

  • Reply Kita Bryant June 24, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    If my family and I could eat Ethiopian food every day we would. I’ve tried hard to find great recipes online and also in different cookbooks and it’s hard – the books that are out there tend to be meat heavy. Really looking forward to trying this!

  • Reply Annemarie LeBlanc June 25, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    5 stars
    I have never tried Ethiopian food. I love to do culinary adventures and try recipes from other parts of the world. I think this split pea stew is tasty, even though it is made with simple ingredients. I love that it has turmeric. It has lots of healthy benefits that I need.

  • Reply Olivia June 25, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    5 stars
    I was looking for a new Kik Alicha recipe and found this one. It was SO good – and is my new favorite. After sauteing the onion, garlic, and ginger, I added 1 Tbs berbere (love this!) and turmeric….then simmered until done. The extra garlic – more than I usually use – is great. Also the red onion. Delicious; thank you.

  • Reply Terri Beavers June 26, 2017 at 6:57 am

    5 stars
    I love Ethiopian cuisine, too. I have a few recipes on my blog but Kik Alicha is definitely my favorite. Although it isn’t what most people associate with Ethiopian food because it isn’t spicy. I look forward to seeing what else you make. ?

  • Reply Blair Villanueva May 1, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    5 stars
    Looks delicious and your recipes are always unique (in my opinion).
    I just it is so much fun hanging out in your kitchen 😀

  • Reply Elise Yuan September 5, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    5 stars
    Wow, this recipe is SO DELICIOUS!!! Just made it today and was THRILLED with the results! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply misir wat and kik alicha – lotsa veggies September 1, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    […] from Veggies by Candlelight and A Soulful Appetite. These recipes make a lot (serve like […]

  • Reply Theo July 29, 2022 at 5:21 am

    This was so great ! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply 6 Authentic Vegan Ethiopian Recipes » Vegan Food Lover November 9, 2022 at 7:21 am

    […] Get the recipe here. […]

  • Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating