In a dry, heavy pot, stir the onions over low heat until browned. Add 1/3 c water along with the cayenne, salt & oil. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes & then add another 2/3 c water & the berbere. Bring to a boil, cover & reduce heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, add just enough water to the pea flour to make a thick dough similar to that for rolled cookies. Try using 1/2 c water & add extra a teaspoonful at a time until the mixture adheres to itself to form a ball. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of a 1/4" & cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.
Ethiopians make fish shapes & decorate them with all sorts of designs.
Fry the pieces in moderately hot oil in a heavy skillet for 3 to 4 minutes, turning several times. When they are crisp & brown, cautiously spoon them into the sauce in the pot. Simmer gently for 5 or 6 minutes, being careful not to break the shapes. Lift pieces out with a slotted spoon & drain on cloths. Serve with the sauce.
Also called gram or garbanzo flour, it is easily found in Asian foodstores.