International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Doro Wat

Doro Wat Recipe (Ethiopian chicken in red pepper paste)

(Ethiopian chicken in red pepper paste)

Average: 4.5 (57 votes)

Doro wat is perhaps the best known food from Ethiopia and is often referred to as that country's national dish. This recipe makes a very tasty version with a deep, rich flavor and tender chicken pieces. Making your own homemade berberé is not difficult and is essential to give the dish the proper flavor.

Doro wat is traditionally very spicy, but you can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to your liking. Also spelled doro wot or doro wet.

4 to 6 servings


  • Chicken legs and thighs, skinless -- 2 pounds
  • Lemon, juice only -- 1
  • Salt -- 2 teaspoons
  • Onions, chopped -- 2
  • Garlic, crushed -- 3 cloves
  • Gingerroot, peeled and chopped -- 1 tablespoon
  • Oil, butter or niter kibbeh -- 1/4 cup
  • Paprika -- 2 tablespoons
  • Berberé paste -- 1/4 to 1/2 cup
  • Water or stock -- 3/4 cup
  • Red wine -- 1/4 cup
  • Cayenne pepper -- from 1 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Hard-boiled eggs (optional) -- 4


  1. Mix together the chicken pieces, lemon juice and salt and in a large, non-reactive bowl and set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is marinating, puree the onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender. Add a little water if necessary.
  3. Heat the oil, butter or niter kibbeh in a large pot over medium flame. Add the paprika and stir in to color the oil and cook the spice through, about 1 minute. Do not burn. Stir in the berberé paste and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the onion-garlic-ginger puree and sauté until most of the moisture evaporates and the onion cooks down and loses its raw aroma, about 5 to 10 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to burn.
  5. Pour in the water or stock and wine and stir in the chicken pieces, cayenne to taste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add water as necessary to maintain a sauce-like consistency.
  6. Add the whole hard boiled eggs and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender.
  7. Adjust seasoning and serve hot with injera bread or rice.

Doro Wat Variations

  • Traditionally, the pureed onions are cooked first in a dry pan without any oil. The liquid evaporates out and they take on a unique toasted flavor. If you'd like to try this method, just make sure your flame isn't so high it burns the onions, and stir constantly. Then add the oil, butter or niter kibbeh, paprika and the berberé and proceed with the recipe.
  • Sik Sik Wat: Substitute 2 pounds of cubed stewing beef for the chicken. Proceed with the recipe.
  • Vegetable Wat: Substitute 2 pounds of small zucchini, halved and quartered. Proceed with the recipe, but just cook long enough for the zucchini to be cooked through and soft.
  • Doro Alich'a: Eliminate the paprika and berberé and substitute white wine for the red wine.
  • Lamb or fish may also be substituted for the chicken in this recipe.
  • Chicken breast can be used, but the result won't be as tender and moist.
  • If you don't want to use red wine, just use a full cup of water or stock.


I made this recipe, including making the berbere paste which was so fun, liking making a magic potion....and the results were fantastic. I cut way back on the oil in both the recipe and the berbere paste,to make it less greasy and lower calorie, and I am glad I did. I also made the sik sik wat version using stewing beef, but I browned it a little before putting it in the liquid. It's really important to let it simmer for the full time, not just for tenderness but also because the sauce seems to change at the end, becomes darker and richer (starts out yellow but by the end is a deep golden brown). I would definately recommend trying this recipe!


I made this with just what was in the spice cupboard - major ommissions in the ingredients that way. However, it turned out splendid and was the crown on an Ethiopian dinner we had with friends, complete with fresh injera. Also did not add so much margarine, just 1/4 cup to fry the spices and onions. The eggs were also delicious as they take on the sauce flavour.

I made this recipe for Doro Wat including the niter kibbeh (seasoned butter) and Berbere paste. Wow! I been eatin' vindaloo since I's a chile but this blew my socks off. It's all I can do to stop myself from eating a huge second helping. If you love authentic cuisine from North Africa, Middle East, or India, you will fall in love with this dish. It's going to be a regular in my kitchen from now on!

Authentic because my sister was recently in western Kenya, she pointed me to this recipe in the first place. Also, some of the cooking technique is very similar to Indian dishes.

Nice side dishes are peas, green beans, or cauliflower. Serve with rice or Naan or pitas or even warmed flour tortillas. A good garnish for the chicken would be chopped fresh mint.

I do have a couple of short cuts and tips. The one thing you should NOT shortcut is the blend of dry seasonings as per the Berbere Paste recipe. You don't have to make the paste, but you do need a coffee grinder and make the spice blend as per that recipe.

I do not own a food processor or blender, so when a recipe calls for pureeing onions, garlic and ginger (very common in Indian recipes) I use a grater and garlic press instead. Works perfectly.

You could skip making the seasoned butter (niter kibbeh, similar to seasoned ghee)and use plain butter instead. Yes, it does add something plus it's a wonderful thing to have around the kitchen for any number of recipes, but if you're short on time & resources, depend on the dry spice mix in the Berbere paste recipe.

When making the Berbere dry spice mix, omit the salt if you are sensitive to salt.

The one spice you might have trouble finding is Fenugreek. It's truly unique and heavenly, but just isn't well known in the states though widely used just about everywhere else in the world. If you can't find it, that's OK! If you want to look for it, check in stores that specialize in gourmet or organic foods. I found Fenugreek seeds in an organic market, the section for bulk herbs/dietary supplements because it has some health benefits. Got it cheap that way, too :-)

Many local Asian markets now have an isle dedicated to different ethnic groups. I found Fenugreek Seeds (seeds, leaves, and powder) in the Indian isle of a local Asian market in Arizona.

And for those in the New York City area looking for Fenugreek and a whole variety of ground and whole spices, I get mine at Sahadi's on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It's a Middle East import retail store, but it has oh, so much more. Reading through the recipes, I discovered I have all or most of the spices--if not in whole form, then at least as ground spices. I think one can now also order online from them. It's the Sahadi Importing Company, familiarly and lovingly known as Sahadi's.
Bon apetit, everyone.
P.S I was looking for Ghanaian and West African recipes to treat a Ghanaian friend of ours who's a monk next time we visit him.

I recently moved to Abu Dhabi and have not found any Ethiopian restaurants yet. We have excellent Ethiopian in Columbus, Ohio, and I was missing that taste. The only spice I did not have for the berbere paste was the allspice, and the dish did not suffer from the omission. I'm happy to have the extra paste and butter since I plan to put your Ethiopian recipes into regular rotation. The bakery next door that sells fresh injera, so I was able to recreate an authentic meal at home.

I recently moved to Abu Dhabi and have not found any Ethiopian restaurants yet. We have excellent Ethiopian in Columbus, Ohio, and I was missing that taste. The only spice I did not have for the berbere paste was the allspice, and the dish did not suffer from the omission. I'm happy to have the extra paste and butter since I plan to put your Ethiopian recipes into regular rotation. The bakery next door that sells fresh injera, so I was able to recreate an authentic meal at home.

oh there is very nice ethiopian restauran in abudhabi
its in aljezira road next to abudhabi media!!
i hope u will be able to find it and the test is way better than what they have here in usa. i used to live in dubai uae and i moved to usa for some business but it seems like the food is not tasting as good as uae!!!

we are recently back from ethiopia and often eat ethiopian/eritrean food in the US, and this recipe was authentic and delicious! absolutely recommended! gee worked great, and our berbere (purchased in ethiopia) made for a plenty spicy sauce, so add cayenne at the end.

There is a very good restaurant not far from AlWadha Mall ....Name is Al Habeshia ....But do not try to use the toilet as it not very hygenic . Food is great and the price is fair . Service a bit slow .

This was awesome! Made it for my boyfriend, he loved it (so did I). We bought some injera and had dry berbere, so we added a little oil and it was perfect. Will definitely make again :)

My 8 year old said this was the first decent meal I've made at home and the 2 year old ate it over the chicken strips I made!

Made Doro Wat tonight with this recipe. My first ever excursion into Ethiopian cooking.
The only changes I made to your recipe were to use 1 teaspoon salt instead of 2 for the marinade and to take it really easy with the cayenne so that my kids would try it.
And it was really, really good. Really clear, easy to follow recipe.
Now I'm hunting for teff flour, so that I can serve it with injera next time.

Hi -
You can find teff flour on - easy and inexpensive.

Here's the best recipe I've found for making Injera:

1 lb - of Teff Flour
3 cups of luke warm water
1 teaspoon of yeast *
- a large bowl, for mixing
- large pancake pan, for baking

1. Mix by hand, 1lb of Teff with 3 cups of water along with 1 teaspoon of yeast.

2. Set aside overnight (24 hrs) outside. For fermentation to take place.

3. Preheat pan, and leave on low fire/heat during baking.

4. Bake in a circular motion, same as a pancake. Only heated on one side, takes about 2 minutes.

5. Take injera out carefully (hot) and set aside on a plate to cool down before eating.