Doro Wot (Ethiopian Spicy Chicken Stew)

This one is is definitely a labor of love. Count on 2.5-3 hours start to finish, but soooo worth it. Rich spices built up on a slightly sweet onion base in layers and layers crowned with chicken and a marinated egg. What’s not to like?  It’s one of things that’s commonly made for Enkutatash, the Ethiopian (Amharic) New Year, which just happened to be a few days ago on September 11th.

Doro Wat


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Chicken Thigh
Servings Per Container 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 369 Calories from Fat 161.1
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17.9g 28%
Saturated Fat 7.8g 39%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 234mg 78%
Sodium 806mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 30.7g 10%
Dietary Fiber 6.2g 25%
Sugars 13.9g
Protein 23.6g 47%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Shopping list:

  • 4 chicken thighs, 1 per person
  • Hard-boiled eggs, 1 per person
  • 3 pounds red onions or shallots
  • 4 tbsp niter kibbeh (recipe) or clarified butter
  • 5 oz tomato paste tin
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Berbere spice blend
  • Cardamom
  • Black pepper
  • 1 lemon

Note: This recipe can easily do 4-8 people by adding one piece of chicken and an egg per person. Also add at least 1/2 pounds of onions per person over four people.

There really isn’t any prep, well, nothing complicated anyway, so to dig in: To start, in a ziploc bag combine the chicken thighs along with the juice of a lemon and a healthy tablespoon of garlic. This can be done at any stage, overnight if you like.

Pot of onions rendered down

Finished Onions

Next up, slice up the onions ~ all of them ~ into strips. How wide is really up to you, as it’s texture, but anywhere between 1/8″ and 1/4″ works for me.  We’re going to cook the heck out of them, so precision doesn’t really matter.  Then dump the lot in a karahi or large dutch oven (note: no oil or anything), and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring regularly until the onions are super-soft and the volume has been reduced by at least one half. This should take about an hour and a half, but plan on it being a little longer than that.  It’s also important to monitor the heat as you want to cook the onions, not fry or caramelize them (this would ruin the dish).

In the meantime, start the eggs. Use your preferred method, but what we do is this: Put the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a heavy boil, then cover the pot and turn off the heat and let the eggs sit for about 8 minutes. Remove the eggs with tongs and immediately immerse them in an ice water bath.  Peel and set aside.

Melt in the niter kibbeh, and add spices: 4 tbsp berbere, 2 tbsp minced ginger, 2 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tsp cardamom, and 1 tsp black pepper. Cook together for 2-3 minutes, then add in the 5 oz/4 tbsp or so tomato paste. and stir in for another 5 minutes or so. If the mix gets too dry, add a cup of water.

Now add the chicken. Turn up the heat to medium-high and saute for about 10 minutes, tossing the thighs to coat.  Then cover with water, bring to a boil for a few minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for around 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. You shouldn’t need to add more liquid but if you do, do it very sparingly. After 10 minutes or so, add in the eggs.  Ultimately when done, the chicken should be cooked, and the sauce should be thick.

Serve in shallow bowls: Make a bed of onions, add one chicken thigh and an egg.