Doro Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Chicken Stew) Recipe

This traditional chicken stew of caramelized onions and seasoned clarified butter is the Ethiopian national dish, and soon to be your favorite.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 ½ hours


3 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
3 bone-in, skinless drumsticks
2 lemons
4 large red onions, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon corn oil
⅓ cup|35 grams berbere
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ cup|45 grams niter kibbeh ghee
5 large eggs
mekelesha, to taste
kosher salt, to taste
injera, for serving


  1. Rinse the chicken and soak in 4 cups|950 ml water. Squeeze in the juice of the lemons and let soak for 30 minutes, then drain and rinse the chickens thoroughly. Using the tip of your knife, pierce the chicken a few times to help it absorb the flavors later while cooking. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a medium saucepan over medium-low (no oil here yet!). Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. 
  3. Blend the garlic and ginger into a paste in a food processor (you may need to add a tablespoon of oil to help in this process), then add it to the saucepan. Cook for about 3 minutes, until fragrant, then stir in the niter kibe butter, berbere, and cardamom and cook about 5 minutes more. Add the chicken and 1 cup|250 ml water. Cook, covered slightly and stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes longer.
  4. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and gently add the eggs. Cook 10 minutes, then drain and transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water until cool enough to peel. Peel and pierce the eggs, then add them to the saucepan along with the mekelesha. Season with salt and cook 10 minutes more, then serve with injera.

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