Doro Wat ☆

Once when visiting my son and his wife and family while they were still living in Santa Clara, California, I believe, my wife and I were taken to an Ethiopian restaurant, where, according to a note scribbled to myself, I had doro wat. More recently, one of the food items served at the celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary was, as I learned, doro wat.

What is doro wat? It is a thick, onion-based chicken stew from Ethiopia whose name roughly translates into “chicken curry.” It is typically served on top of injera, which is a soft, white, leavened bread made from teff flour, similar to a crepe. The injera is commonly also topped with other foods such as vegetables, salads, lentils, and chickpeas. A traditional recipe is similar to the one below:

  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, with skin, cubed
  • 6 large red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp <butter>*
  • x tbsp berbere spice mix, per your heat tolerance
  • 2½ cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • <salt>, to taste
  • 6 eggs

Marinate the chicken pieces in the lemon juice. Meanwhile, put the onions, garlic, and ginger into a food processor or blender and grate into a uniform mix.

Melt 2 tbsp <butter> in a thick-bottomed pan, add the chicken cubes, and sauté for a few minutes until the <butter> begins to brown. Remove the chicken from the pot and reserve.

Melt the other 2 tbsp <butter> in the pot, add the onion mixture, and cook it gently for an hour until the onions have cooked and reduced into a sweet paste.

Meanwhile, separately boil the eggs. This typically is done by slowly raising the heat until the water is boiling, then reducing the heat, and continuing to simmer for about 12 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water and let cool; then shell and dice.

Add the chicken pieces, berbere spice, chicken stock, and wine into the pan. Simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes, then sprinkle the garam masala over the pan and mix it in. Taste and correct the seasonings. Add more berbere as needed. Simmer another 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the pan. Add a little water if needed.

When the chicken is done fold the eggs to the pan. Serve the doro wat on top of injera to enjoy it the traditional way. Alternatively, this can be enjoyed with Indian flatbread. I use low-carb flour tortillas.