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Doro Wat – Ethiopian Chicken stew

Doro wat is an incredibly fragrant, spicy, flavorful, rich slow-cooked Ethiopian chicken stew mostly eaten for special occasions and family gatherings.

Doro wat served in a bowl

Doro wat Recipe – National dish of Ethiopia.

Doro wat is an onion-based spicy chicken stew usually made during occasions like parties, weddings, birthdays, or any day. It is one of the national dishes of Ethiopia, usually served over injera – spongy Ethiopian bread.

Low maintenance dish

Don’t worry about the length of time required to make Doro wat. It is a low-maintenance dish; once the aromatics are cooking in the oil and spice, you don’t have much to do.

Ingredients for making Doro wat

What type of chicken should I use for making Doro Wat?

Traditionally, when making Doro wat, a whole chicken is used. The chicken is washed in vinegar solution and with salt and the skin is taken off before the chicken is cut into twelve, representing the twelve tribes of Jacob in the bible. 

I did not use a whole chicken for this recipe, neither did I use twelve chicken pieces. I used chicken legs (drumsticks). However, you can choose to use any chicken part of your choice. 

No two recipes are the same.

In Ethiopia, every family has their Doro wat recipe, and just like most African countries, they really don’t measure their ingredients. That is why it’s hard to find two exact recipes for Doro wat. In other words, they use their instincts, and the result is outstanding!

Berbere Spice

The stew gets its kick from berbere spice. Berbere spice is an Ethiopian spice made with a base of chili powder and fragrant aromatics like cardamom, fenugreek, and clove. It’s of little wonder why a whole lot of Ethiopian food is built on it. Once you use this spice, you will get addicted to it. 

Berbere spice is quite spicy hence, the need for tomato paste to tone down the heat. However, if you love it spicy, you can skip the tomato paste, and if you like it less spicy, you can reduce the quantity of berbere spice in the stew.

What to serve with Doro wat

This stew is often served with Injera– a popular flatbread in Ethiopia. However, it is very versatile, and I have served it over rice – it pairs perfectly well.

Can I refrigerate Doro wat?

Yes, Doro wat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. In order to further extend the shelf life of Doro wat, freeze it in a covered airtight freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bags. If properly stored, it will maintain its best quality for about 4 to 6 months.

Notes:

  1. Trust your instinct when adding water because Doro wat is more of a stew, not soup, so it needs to be thick. You really want to be able to scoop it with the injera, so you only need very little water. Also, bear in mind that the chicken will also release its juice inside the stew. 
  2. If you want to get the best out of this dish, make sure you let the onions cook for the entire length of time.
  3. Also, don’t be in haste while simmering the stew. Give it time to slowly cook until the chicken becomes tender.

Other delicious Ethiopian recipes you might want to try:

You may also check out these delicious stew (sauce) recipes:

Doro wat served in a bowl

Doro wat

Doro wat is an incredibly fragrant, spicy, flavorful, rich slow-cooked Ethiopian chicken stew mostly eaten for special occasions and family gatherings.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: African, Ethiopian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 512kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 medium-sized red onions
  • 4 pounds chicken I used skinless legs
  • 3/4 to 1 cup Vegetable oil or any good cooking oil of your choice
  • 2 tablespoon kibbeh Ethiopian spiced butter
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste optional
  • 6 eggs hard-boiled
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup of berbere spice
  • 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups water to clean chicken

Instructions

  • Clean the chicken very well and soak it in water and vinegar. Rinse and drain when ready to use.
  • Boil the eggs, peel, and set aside.
  • Finely dice the onions. I like to use the food processor to save time.
  • Add the onions to a pot over low to medium heat. The onions will sweat and create the water they will simmer in. Continue to stir the onions to prevent burning until they change color (light pink color). About 30 to 40 minutes. When they are done, the water will evaporate, and the onions will begin to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Stir in the oil, minced garlic, salt, and berbere spice. Stir well.
  • Add kebe (Ethiopian spiced butter) and the tomato paste and stir.
  • Slash the chicken in two or three places. This step is optional, but it will allow the flavors of the stew to penetrate the chicken. Add the chicken inside the stew and stir.
  • Add the water and cook on medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Continue to cook until the stew thickens up and the chicken becomes ender.
  • Stir in the eggs and leave to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Notes

Trust your instinct when adding water because Doro wat is more of a stew, not soup, so it needs to be thick. You really want to be able to scoop it with the injera, so you only need very little water. Also, bear in mind that the chicken will also release its juice inside the stew.
If you want to get the best out of this dish, make sure you let the onions cook for the entire length of time.
Don’t be in haste while simmering the stew. Give it time to slowly cook until the chicken becomes tender.

Nutrition

Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 212mg | Sodium: 473mg | Potassium: 388mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating




Sharifa

Wednesday 27th of July 2022

Hey Lola! I made this today and it was amazing.

My question for you is, did I miss where the ginger goes in? I added it with the garlic on this go around.

Laura

Friday 3rd of June 2022

When I saw a 1/2 cup of berbere I had a good feeling about this recipe and it did not disappoint. Very good and quite easy. It's worth a trip to an Ethiopian market for injera, if that's an option for you.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Sunday 5th of June 2022

Thank you, Laura. Such a delight to see your nice feedback. I am glad it came out perfect for you.

Mark

Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

I made this last night and it was delicious. I've had it many times in the restaurant and this was just as tasty. My only change was serving it with some pita bread since I didn't have Injera.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Great. Well done.

Tess Tiven

Sunday 20th of March 2022

Delicious recipe!! First time having Doro Wat and it is so rich and tasty. Excited to try more of your recipes.

We had a mean rooster on our farm that needed to go. The meat was a little tougher so I cooked on very low heat for about 6 hours. Delicious! I love the tradition of the 12 pieces like the 12 tribes of Israel. I am bringing the dish to church today and am excited to share the dish and the tradition. Thank you! God bless you!

Markus

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

Does it really need that much oil and butter?