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Door wat in a clay bowl with injera bread and lentils from above.
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5 from 5 votes

doro wat - Ethiopian chicken curry

Doro wat is an Ethiopian chicken stew loaded with that wonderful berbere spice.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Keyword: doro wat, doro wot, ethiopian chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 434kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


The onion paste

  • 2 cups onions - coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

doro wat

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 3 pieces per thigh.
  • 1/6 lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp Ethiopian berbere - increasingly available at specialty food shops. If salt is listed in the first 4 ingredients keep looking.
  • 2/3 tsp kosher salt - use a bit less if you are using table salt
  • 1 pinch fenugreek seed - like 3-4 seeds
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 2 tbsp garlic ginger paste - see notes
  • 4 tbsp ghee


The onion paste

  • Place the onions in a microwave safe dish and cover loosely. Microwave at 70 percent until the onions are soft and translucent. This takes about 10 minutes in an 1100 watt microwave oven.
  • Remove the onions from the microwave. Be careful. They will be hot. Like burn you with the steam hot. Let them cool slightly. 
  • Place the onions, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 cup of warm water in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

doro wat

  • Cut the chicken thighs into 3 pieces each. Squeeze the lemon juice overtop. You can use whole chicken thighs (bone-in) if you want. This is glebekitchen. There are no rules here. Except more flavour is better. That's a good rule.
  • Heat 4 tbsp ghee in a pot over medium heat. You should start to see it just shimmer a bit.
  • Toss in the black cardamom and fenugreek seed. Let cook about 20 seconds. You will see little bubbles forming around whole spices.
  • Add the garlic ginger paste. Cook until the garlic ginger paste stops spluttering.
  • Turn the heat to medium low. Add the berbere spice powder. Stir continuously until it starts to smell really good. This takes around 30-40 seconds. Watch it carefully. If you burn the spices at this point you have to start over. This is called blooming the spices. It is one of the secrets to Indian cooking and it works well here.
  • Add half the onion paste and turn the heat up to medium high. Stir to combine. Cook for about a minute. Add the rest of the onion paste and stir again. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. Don't worry if it looks dry. The chicken will release juices as it cooks and all that flavour is going into the doro wat. Tasty stuff.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low. Add the chicken and stir. Cover and simmer until the chicken is done. It's done when you measure the internal temperature and it says 170F - ok, there might be a few rules around here - about 12-15 minutes. Cooking times will go up a bit if you are using whole bone-in thighs. You really shouldn't ever trust times. An instant read thermometer is probably the most important kitchen tool after pots and knives...
  • Check it after 12 minutes. If it's looking like it will be a bit thin finish it off uncovered. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.
  • Serve with injera bread to mop it up. Eat with your hands. No knife and fork required. Get into it. Have fun.


You can buy garlic ginger paste but it's easy to make and homemade is way better. Here's an easy recipe for garlic ginger paste. If you cook Indian fairly often it's so worth it to whip up a batch. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.
If you don't want to go to the effort of making (or buying) garlic ginger paste just use 1 tbsp grated ginger and 1 tbsp of minced garlic.
Watch out for berbere spice mixes that have salt as a major ingredient (its always a good idea to read ingredients). If you must use it just leave the salt out and hope it doesn't wind up too salty. Or better yet, toss it and find some real berbere...


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 199mg | Sodium: 742mg | Potassium: 532mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 41IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg