Doro Wat – Say what….

Doro Wat is a wonderfully spicy and I don’t mean “spicy hot”, but flavoursome chicken stew from Ethiopia.  It uses the Berbere spice from the last post.  Since the spices are robust, it is best to use chicken thighs rather than breast meat.

This is a dish that needs time.  The Ethiopian way of slow cooking the onions brings out a sweetness to them that is unparalleled.  So much so that I have taken up this as a means of cooking onions even for Indian curries etc.

Above is a collage of the basic ingredients of this recipe.  To process these as part of the mise-en-place, I used a Cuisinart stick blender with the mini chop attachment.  The onions really need to be chopped very very fine, almost a pureé.



  • 1 medium Onion, chopped very very fine, almost a puree
  • 3 large Garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 3 large Tomatoes, coarsely chopped and then pureéd in the mini chop Doing the tomato last provides the liquid to sweep up any left over, onion and garlic bits in the mini chop
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Berbere
  • 1 lb Chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut into one and a half inch chunks.
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Salt


  • Set a heavy bottom pan on the stove on (real) low and add a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon or so of Olive oil to prevent the butter from burning.
  • Once the butter ha melted and stopped foaming, add the onions, stir and cover it with the lid.  Spread the onions out as evenly as possible on the bottom before covering.
  • Look but don’t touch for the next 20 minutes or so.  The onions will semi-steam and semi saute as the juices from them will keep them moist and prevent scorching (hence the real low)
  • Add the chopped garlic, stir, add a bit more butter and or olive oil to keep everything lubricated on the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover and ignore it for another 15 minutes.
  • Add the Berbere, a bit more oil if it needs it, mix thoroughly cover and cook on low for another 15 minutes; follow this with the pureed tomateos and cook on low for another 20 minutes or so.  In fact, the oil should separate from the sauce before you add the chicken chunks.  Pictures below in sequence to show you what the various stages from above should look like.
  • Stir the chicken in and cover and cook on low for about 30 -45 minutes till the chicken is done.  The traditional way is to also add some hard boiled eggs to the pot for the last 15 minutes or so.  To make sure the flavours get into the eggs, you cut slits through the whites so the sauce can penetrate to the yolk.  Cut a few slits on each egg.
  • While, non traditional, I tend to sprinkle a little bit of garam masala on the top before serving.
  • Serve with Injera (traditional Ethiopian flat bread made from Tef; I will post the recipe in a separate post).  I served it with Injera and a quick salad of cherry tomatoes, cucumber, seasoned with some grated ginger, red wine vinegar, olive oil and parsley to provide the acidic counter point tot he unctuous chicken.

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