Your email address is required to begin the subscription process. We will use it for customer service and other communications from Milk Street. You can unsubscribe from receiving our emails at any time.
Ethiopian Chicken Stew (Doro Wat)
1 hour 10 minutes 30 minutes active
This recipe is free for a limited time. 12 WEEKS FOR $1 TO ACCESS EVERY MILK STREET RECIPE. Learn More.
Doro wat, a succulent chicken stew fragrant with spices and savory-sweet with a preponderance of onions, is the national dish of Ethiopia. We were taught how to make it by home cook Tigist Chane in Addis Ababa. A generous measure of berbere, Ethiopia’s signature spice blend, gives the dish its deep reddish-brown hue. Berbere is sold in spice shops and most well-stocked supermarkets; because its chili heat varies from brand to brand, we call for a range in the amount. Alternatively, you can easily mix your own berbere. If you wish to hone your knife skills, feel free to chop the 2 pounds of onions by hand, but a food processor gets the job done quickly. Trim, peel and quarter the onions, then pulse about 10 times until finely chopped; it’s fine if the pieces are a bit uneven. As a cooking fat, we use Indian ghee to mimic the flavor of Ethiopian fermented butter. Look for ghee in the dairy case next to the butter or in the grocery aisle near the coconut oil. If it’s not available, butter is a fine substitute. Whole hard-cooked eggs are traditionally simmered into doro wot at the end, but we prefer sliced hard-cooked eggs as an optional garnish, along with chopped fresh chilies. Injera, a spongy, slightly sour Ethiopian flatbread, is the typical accompaniment, but rice or warmed naan is good, too.
Don’t worry if the onion and spice mixture looks dry after the chicken is stirred in. As it cooks, the chicken gradually releases moisture—so much so that the stew will require uncovered simmering at the end to reduce and thicken the liquid.
1 hour 10 minutes
30 minutes active
tablespoons ghee, divided
pounds (3 large) red onions, finely chopped (see headnote)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
cup berbere (see headnote)
medium garlic cloves, minced
pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved
scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
jalapeño or Fresno chili, stemmed, seeded (if desired) and finely chopped (optional)
hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced (optional)
Lemon wedges, to serve
Ethiopian Chickpea Stew
Berbere Spice Blend
01In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee until shimmering. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat if the onions begin to brown before they soften, until lightly browned and completely softened, 10 to 15 minutes.
02Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons ghee, the berbere and ¾ cup water. Stir in the garlic, followed by the chicken. Reduce to medium-low, cover and cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, about 30 minutes.
03Uncover, increase to medium-high and cook, stirring and scraping along the bottom of the pot, until the stew is thickened and a wooden spoon leaves a brief trail when drawn through the sauce, 5 to 8 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the scallions, chilies (if using) and sliced eggs (if using); serve with lemon wedges on the side.
Made this for dinner tonight including the berbere spice recipe (added less cayenne pepper so it was less spicy and used 1/2 cup). I only had 1 1/2 lbs of chicken thighs so added a can of chick peas. It was delicious. Served with freekah and steamed broccoli all together in a bowl. Broccoli helped to cut the richness. Amazing dish and there are leftovers for tomorrow night which will probably taste even better.
We used Penzeys berebere (1/4 cup) and the finished recipe made our eyes water! We served it over rice and with yogurt to cut the spice a bit. I would definitely compare the ingredients of the berebere you purchase with Milk Street's berebere - Penzy's is cayenne-based, while Milk Street's is paprika-based. If we had compared the two berebere ingredient lists at the beginning, we would have cut way back on the Penzy's seasoning. We did like the dish and plan on making it again, but with less heat.
Let me add that a) this dish is superb and b) if you use Penzey's berbere be careful! I think it's a delicious blend but if you add more than 1/4 cup per two pounds of chicken thighs you're a tougher man than I, Gunga Din. You might even use a little less the first time and fill the rest of the 1/4 cup with a good, mild paprika.
Very delicious and spice mix was not too hard to put together. Good one pot weeknight meal