Doro Wat - Spicy Ethiopian Stew

Doro Wat - Spicy Ethiopian Stew

If you have ever eaten a wat in an authentic Ethiopian restaurant you will be aware that they only really come with one heat setting, hot. That is due to Berbere, the essential ingredient to any wat, which is a fiery spice blend native to Ethiopia.

Doro wat is known as the national dish of Ethiopia and it is commonly shared in a group with a large stack of injera with which to soak up the delicious juice. Injera is a flatbread traditionally made with teff flour, sourdough risen, that has a uniquely spongy texture, perfect for a hearty stew. I wasn't as prepared as I could have been when making this meal however and had to settle on 20 minute naan breads to do the same job.

I won't lie and say that you can have this ready in a flash, not at all. This takes more care and attention than a normal stew as you have to make the kulet (thick onion and berbere sauce) first and then cook the chicken in the kulet. I am also going to factor that you won't have any niter kibbeh (spiced butter) on hand and so you will either have to make that too or maybe pop to the shops for some (if you are lucky enough to have specialist shops at hand). Whilst the various stages of cooking are happening however you can make some breads so it is time well spent, plus the final stew is really very good if you like a little heat!


Serves: 4


3 chicken breasts, diced
30ml fresh lemon juice
40g niter kibbeh or regular butter
2 tbps extra virgin olive oil
4 onions, minced thoroughly in a food processor
45g butter
4 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced
Thumb size piece of ginger, minced
40g berbere
1½ teaspoons salt
170ml Tej (Ethiopian honey wine) or white wine mixed with 1 teaspoon honey
250ml chicken stock
4 hard-boiled eggs, pierced all over with fork about ¼ inch deep


onionsthoroughly minced onions

Mince your onions thoroughly in a food processor. 

Put the diced chicken in a bowl and pour the lemon juice over. Cover the bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

diced chicken

In a casserole warm the niter kibbeh and olive oil up before adding the processed onions. Pop the lid on and sauté over the lowest possible heat for 45 minutes. Give it a stir from time to time to check it's not sticking to the base of the casserole dish.

saute onions

Now add the garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of butter and continue to sauté, with the lid on, for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

chopped ginger

Now it’s time to add the berbere and remaining butter, and again sauté, with lid on, over the same low heat for another 30 minutes. I know this seems like the longest saute in the world but it is necessary to develop a lovely deep flavour.


Whilst all of this is happening you can prepare the boiled eggs.

hard-boiled eggs

Pour in the chicken stock and wine and bring up to the boil. Reduce the heat to low again and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the chicken and continue to simmer for 25 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This step is important to get just right, if you overcook the chicken it will become chewy, you are looking for a tender piece of juicy chicken so check at 20 minutes and adjust the timing accordingly.

doro wat cooking

Check the seasoning and adjust to your liking, pop the boiled eggs in and simmer for another 5 minutes – taking note of the cooking time above.  If your chicken is nearly cooked at 20 minutes add the eggs for the last 5 minutes.

Doro wat

Spoon into bowls and serve with injera. Alternatively, you can plate it up and eat with rice.


Back to blog