Doro Wat

Doro Wat

Wrap some tangy injera (fermented pancake) around
a morsel of doro wat, a devilishly hot chicken stew, pop it
into your mouth and savour the tastes of highland Ethiopia.

The history of wat and injera remain a mystery, although we do know that the ox and plough have been used in Ethiopia for at least 3000 years and that teff, the essential behind injera, is probably as old. Wat – the name for an array of curries – has been consumed in some form for just as long, although the dish didn’t gain its legendary bite until the Portuguese introduced the chilli in the 16th century.

You’ll need
Berbere Spice mixture
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cardamom seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp allspice
2 tbs salt
½ cup cayenne pepper
½ cup sweet paprika

Doro Wat
4 tbs nit’r qibe (Ethiopian
spiced butter) or unsalted
2 large onions, peeled and
roughly chopped
1 tbs peeled and chopped
1 tbs peeled and finely
1–2 tbs berbere (to taste)
4 chicken legs
4 hard-boiled eggs

Cooking Method
Berbere Spice mixture
1 Heat a large, heavy pan.
2 Add the ginger, cardamom, fenugreek, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and allspice; roast over a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
3 Add the salt, cayenne pepper and paprika and roast over very low heat for a further 10 minutes.
4 Allow to cool; store in a sealed jar.

Doro Wat
1 Heat the butter over a low heat in a large wok or deep frying pan.
2 Add the onions and, stirring frequently for about 25 minutes, cook until caramelised.
3 Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 5–8 minutes, until soft.
4 Add the berbere and 2 cups (500mL) of water. Stir well.
5 Season the chicken with salt.
6 Add the chicken to the wok, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirringoccasionally, until cooked through.
7 Uncover the wok and raise the heat to medium-high.
8 Simmer until the liquid has been reduced to a thick, gravy-like consistency.
9 Add the eggs and stir to warm them through.
10 Taste and season with more berbere and salt.
11 Serve with injera and eat with the fingers.

Tasting notes
There is an art to eating doro wat. First, do away with plates, bowls and utensils and instead pile the wat on to a sheet of injera. On to what, you might ask? Unique to Ethiopia, injera can best be described as a large, thin, rubbery and rather sour-tasting fermented pancake made of teff, a cereal that grows only in the Ethiopian highlands. The injera serves as accompaniment, cutlery and, some would say, tablecloth to your wat; its bitter tang tempers the fire of the wat. In order to make your Ethiopian meal even more authentic, finish off with a brain-bendingly strong Ethiopian coffee (Ethiopia is the original home of the coffee plant).

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