Ethiopian Doro Wat

Doro wat
F. Muyambo
  • 2 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Ratings (15)

Doro wat is an onion-based chicken stew from Ethiopia. It is also known in the Tigrinya language of neighboring Eritrea as tsebhi dorho. If you walk into any Ethiopian or Eritrean restaurant around the world, you will undoubtedly be served this incredibly tasty dish. Doro wat is frequently served on top of injera with other wats and salads. During the Lent period prior to Easter, different types of lentils, chickpeas and vegetable wats such as mesir or shiro wat are often consumed.

The cooking process can seem quite daunting because of the amount of time required to cook down the base ingredient in any wat; onions. Do not be put off by the ​hour-long process of cooking down the onions as this will provide the authentic taste you are looking for. A simpler version can be made by using red onions, chopping finely and gently cooking for a much shorter duration. Alternatively, try pre-roasting onions in a hot oven the night before so you can make a quick sauce when you're ready. This splits up the process over a couple of days; the step of pre-roasting the onions making the whole process effortless.

You will notice a number of recipes published on the internet call for the use of chicken stock. This is normally needed where a smaller quantity of onions have been used and therefore, more liquid is needed. In recipes where a significant quantity of onions has been used, the extra liquid is not necessary as there is enough wat base for cover; the chicken pieces will cook on a low heat resulting in the "sweating" out of its own liquids. Naturally, you will be cooking this in your kitchen to suit your time and effort. If by your judgment, the recipe could use more moisture, add a little water as required.

What You'll Need

  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 lbs (800g) of chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil or niter kibbeh (fragrant butter)
  • 6 teaspoons berbere spice mix or less, depending on what sort of heat you can take
  • 6 large red onions
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger
  • salt as desired
  • 11 ounces (450mls) of water or chicken stock, add as required
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 6 eggs

How to Make It

  1. Marinate the chicken pieces in the lemon juice. In the meantime, finely chop the onions, garlic, and ginger by hand or blend into a paste in a food processor or hand held chopper. To make doro wat in its most authentic form, add the onions to a thick-bottomed pan and cook gently for an hour until the onions have cooked and reduced into a sweet paste.
  2. Add the niter kibbeh, or vegetable oil. Olive oil is not typically used, as this has a strong flavor which may take away from the authentic spices used in doro wat. Add the berbere spice, followed by the ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant. More berbere spice can be added depending on how much heat is desired from the dish.  
  1. Add the chicken pieces into the pan. Simmer on a low heat for 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Halfway through, sprinkle the garam masala over the wat. You may need to top up with a little water as required and stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the base of the pan. While this is simmering away, boil your eggs.
  2. After 40 minutes of simmering, add the boiled, shelled eggs to the wat. Serve the doro wat on top of injera to enjoy it the traditional way. Alternatively, this can be enjoyed with Indian flatbread.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 630
Total Fat 40 g
Saturated Fat 8 g
Unsaturated Fat 20 g
Cholesterol 335 mg
Sodium 358 mg
Carbohydrates 17 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 50 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)