Doro Wat (Ethiopian Spiced Chicken)

    This super spicy dish, Doro wat is a special recipe in the Ethiopian community. As such, it is quite a famous dish in Africa, if not one of the most famous.

    If you’re familiar with African cuisines, you must have heard of it. It is prepared with chicken, spiced butter, berbere, [its major spicy blend] and served with injera, a fermented teff bread.

    What is Doro wat?

    Doro wat means “chicken stew”. To break it down further, Doro stands for chicken while wat means stew. This translation is gotten from Amharic, the language spoken in Ethiopia.

    Where is Doro wat from?

    As established earlier, Doro wat is an Ethiopian special. Ethiopia is the largest and most popular country in the east of Africa and its capital is Addis Ababa.

    This Ethiopian cuisine is also especially served to visitors and in the family during special seasons or holidays. It’s also available at Ethiopian restaurants all over the world.

    You would think you’ve had a spicy dish before until you taste this one. It is spicy.

    It is flavored with niter kibbeh, a spicy butter made with fenugreek, hot chiles, paprika, cardamom, coriander, and berbere, a spice mix made with fenugreek, hot chiles, paprika, cardamom, and coriander.

    Is Doro wat healthy?

    Ethiopian cuisine is delicious and boasts of numerous health benefits, but just like Doro wat, it starts with an appetizing aroma of spices and inviting colorful dishes.

    How to prepare Doro wat

    Many people would rather not take on this meal themselves because of the length of time it takes to prepare. But, every second is worth it because it comes out delicious. For an average Ethiopian, it is the time that gives the flavor and they do not mind.

    In preparing this dish, you should loan yourself a lot of time and note the following elements and their relevance in this recipe.

    Berbere; a basic ingredient used in the Doro wat recipe. It is a fiery, bright red, and flavorful Ethiopian spice blend. Its spices are toasted and ground for maximum flavor.

    Injera; A sour fermented flatbread with a slightly spongy texture, traditionally made of teff flour. In Ethiopia, Eritrea, and some parts of Sudan, injera is the staple food of Eastern Africa just like rice and bread in other parts of the world.

    How to prepare your Ethiopian chicken stew, Doro wat;

    • Wash and Soak the chicken in cold water with lemon squeezed into it for one hour.
    • In a large pot, over medium heat, cook the red onions, stirring constantly, until onions are soft and deep brown color. Add 1 cup water at a time, if the onions dry out.
    • Add the berbere, garlic, and ginger and cook for 30 minutes stirring frequently, adding water if necessary until they are deep red color.
    • Add oil, tomato paste and cook for another 15 minutes.
    • Add the chicken, mixing to coat well with the berbere/onion mixture, and simmer for 30 minutes with occasional stirring.
    • Add 3-4cups of water or chicken stock, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is very tender about 30 minutes.
    • Remove the lid, Add the clarified butter, cardamom powder, and salt, Increase the heat to medium and simmer, until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is very thick about 30 minutes, occasionally stirring and spooning the sauce over the chicken.
    • Throw the eggs and simmer for another 5 minutes. The sauce will be loose and soupy. Season with salt to taste.
    • Serve Warm with Injera, Rice, or Pita Bread with a side of Yogurt or Cottage Cheese.


    Doro Wat (Ethiopian Spiced Chicken)

    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
    Course Main Course, Main Dish
    Cuisine Ethiopia


    • 3 lbs chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces, or 3 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp niter kibbeh
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 cups yellow onions finely minced to a chunky puree in food processor
    • 3 tpsp tablespoons butter
    • 1 tbsp tablespoon finely minced garlic
    • 1 tbsp tablespoon finely minced ginger
    • ¼ cup Ethiopian berbere
    • tsps salt
    • 2 cup Tej Ethiopian honey wine, if you have it, or white wine mixed with 1 teaspoon ho
    • 1 cup chicken stock
    • 3 hard-boiled eggs pierced all over with fork about 1/4 inch deep


    • Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and pour lemon juice over. 
    • Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
    • Heat the niter kibbeh or butter along with the olive oil in a Dutch oven.
    • Add the onions and sauté, covered, over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Add the garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon butter and continue to saute, covered, for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Add the berbere and the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter and saute, covered, over low heat for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Add the chicken, broth, salt and wine and bring to a boil.
    • Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Adjust the seasonings, adding more berbere according to heat preference.
    • Add the boiled eggs and simmer on low heat, covered, for another 15 minutes.
    • Half or quarter the eggs and arrange on the plates with the stew.
    • Serve hot with injera, bread or rice.
    Keyword Chicken, Stew
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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