International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Doro Wat

Doro Wat Recipe (Ethiopian chicken in red pepper paste)
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(Ethiopian chicken in red pepper paste)

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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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  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.