This spicy Ethiopian chicken stew is one of the most well-known African dishes. I tasted it for the first time at an Ethiopian restaurant in Cape Town, called Addis. Recreating the dish was not an easy task; I made the stew four times before I was happy with the taste. My children, who must always act as guinea pigs, did not complain however! They enjoy spicy dishes and love chicken.
Ethiopian cuisine is popular all over the world. If you haven’t tasted it yet and love spicy food, then you are missing out! Dining Ethiopian style is a shared experience and a lot of fun. Traditionally, Ethiopians eat their food with their right hand only and don’t use cutlery. Dishes are almost always served with a flat round pancake-like flatbread called injera. Injera acts as an eating utensil; you tear pieces of injera and scoop the food up with it. The food is served on a communal plate and it is custom among Ethiopians to feed each other during a meal!
The first time I cooked the dish I found it to be way too spicy for my palette, so I had to change the Berbere spice mixture that is the key ingredient in the dish and in most Ethiopian dishes. Berbere is a dark red blend of chilli, ginger, garlic, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, coriander and other spices.
Chicken stew is called “Doro wat” in Ethiopia. This is my interpretation of Doro Wat and it is definitely not an authentic version of the dish. Ethiopian girls are only ready for marriage when they know how to cook doro wat and make berbere perfectly! I guess I will never be ready to be married in Ethiopia because I took some short cuts!
- BERBERE SPICE MIXTURE
- 45ml cayenne pepper
- 60ml paprika
- 5ml ground ginger
- 5ml ground cardamom
- 5ml grounded nutmeg
- 5ml grounded coriander
- 2.5ml grounded cinnamon
- 2.5ml grounded cloves
- 2.5ml fenugreek seeds
- 2.5ml grounded allspice
- 30ml salt
- DORO WAT STEW
- 12 chicken drumsticks
- 30ml lemon juice
- 120ml butter
- 3 onions, peeled and finely minced in a food processor
- 30ml minced garlic
- 15ml minced ginger
- 60ml berbere
- 500ml chicken stock
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
- THE BERBERE SPICE MIXTURE:
- Heat a large, heavy pan or saucepan. Add all the spices up and roast over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring, to prevent burning.
- Remove from the heat, cool and store in a glass jar with a lid.
- FOR THE STEW:
- Make a few pricks in each chicken piece, drizzle with the lemon juice and leave aside.
- In a large pot melt the butter and fry the onions, garlic and ginger over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure not to burn the onion mixture.
- Add the Berbere spice mixture and stir through and then add the chicken stock.
- Add the chicken pieces and simmer covered for 40 to 50 minutes.
- Season the dish with salt and simmer uncovered for another 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced to a thick consistency.
- Add the peeled, hard-boiled eggs and cook over low heat for a couple of minutes to warm the eggs.
- Serve with bread, preferably injera.
Adjust the salt to taste.
The onions must be chopped very fine, since it thickens the sauce