Home » By Course » Main Dishes » Doro Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Chicken Stew)

Doro Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Chicken Stew)

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

There is a reason why Doro Wat is the national dish of Ethiopia and one of the most famous of all African dishes – it’s fabulous!   This authentic Doro Wat recipe captures the very best of Ethiopian cooking!

Doro Wat Ethiopian

Doro Wat is one of the most famous of all African dishes.  You will find it in every Ethiopian restaurant and virtually anyone who is familiar with African cuisine will have heard of it.  Another version, though not as commonly known here, is Sega Wat, made with beef (fyi, you’ll find recipes online calling it Sik Sik Wat, but I’ve confirmed with the chefs of several Ethiopian restaurants that it’s Sega Wat).  You can directly substitute beef for chicken and follow the same cooking instructions.

Doro Wat is traditionally made very spicy.  Super spicy.  Like I-don’t-know-how-Ethiopians-have-any-taste-buds-left spicy.  Western adaptations are still spicy, but quite tame compared to the real deal.

doro wat recipe authentic traditional ethiopian chicken stew spicy eggs

Traditionally Doro Wat is served with an Ethiopian flatbread called injera.  It’s kind of a spongy pancake made with teff flour (a grain indigenous to the area), and the batter is left to ferment for up to 4 days before its used.  The injera is used in place of an eating utensil and is used to scoop up the chicken stew.

doro wat recipe ethiopian african injera chicken spicy

This recipe for Doro Wat comes by way of request from Jared (Make a Request!).  He said he has been trying for several years to find a good recipe.  Jared, this recipe is both authentic and delicious – I think you’ll be very happy with it!

The key to authentic, great-tasting Doro Wat is good quality, flavorful berbere, and a very long cooking process.  It can take several hours for an Ethiopian to make Doro Wat.  You can cut back on the cooking time and your Doro Wat will still taste good, but it won’t taste like it’s supposed to.  The magic is in the slow-cooked onions.  And it takes time for the magic to happen.

A central ingredient of Doro Wat is Berbere, a fiery, bright red and flavorful Ethiopian spice blend.  It is best made fresh using whole spices that are toasted and ground for maximum flavor.  A combination of whole and ground spices are used as seen in the picture below.

Doro Wat prep 6

The whole spices are toasted and ground up with the already ground spices to make a beautiful, aromatic, flavorful and spicy seasoning blend.

Ethiopian Berbere recipe

Purchasing these spices will serve you well as each of them are commonly used in a large variety of other cuisines.  Stored in airtight glass jars in a dark place, they will keep a very long time.  If you’d rather purchase berbere, you can find it online.  You need 1/4-1/3 cup for this recipe alone, so forget the tiny 2-3 oz jars of it you usually find for sale.  The best deal I’ve found for bulk berbere (and it also happens to be organic and a reputable brand) can be found HERE.  

Berbere makes a great rub for meat, poultry, and fish, as well as a seasoning for stews, soups, and vegetables.  It’s a great all-purpose spice, so you’ll be able to make good use of this bulk package if you decide to buy versus make your own.

So now that you’re equipped with Ethiopian berbere and authentic Ethiopian injera, you’re ready to make Doro Wat!

Doro Wat Recipe

Let’s get started!

Use a food processor to very finely mince the onion – you want an almost chunky puree.

grated onions

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of niter kibbeh in a Dutch oven (I use and love Lodge) and saute the onion, covered, over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add more niter kibbeh if it gets too dry.

cooking onions in niter kibbeh

In the meantime, finely mince the garlic and ginger.

Add the garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Continue to saute, covered, over low heat for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

adding butter garlic and ginger

Add 4 tablespoons of berbere and 2 teaspoons salt and stir to combine.

adding berbere

Add 2 tablespoons of butter, cover, and simmer over low heat for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

adding more butter

After 30 minutes you’ll have a rich and luscious sauce that’s ready for the chicken!

cooking the mixture

Traditionally, bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces are used.  You can either use chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch chunks, or use boneless chicken breast.  I used breast this time.  Cut the breast into small, 1/2 inch chunks.  Place the chunks in a dish with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and let sit at least 15 minutes.

Add the chicken to the sauce.

adding chicken

Traditionally, Tej is used, an Ethiopian honey wine.  As a substitute we’re going to use white wine with a teaspoon of honey.

Add the chicken stock, salt and honey wine to the mixture.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

cooking the chicken in the sauce

In the meantime, boil the eggs.  Once the eggs have cooled enough to handle, peel and pierce them all over with a fork, about 1/4 inch deep, to allow the sauce to penetrate.

preparing the eggs

After 45 minutes you’ll have a rich, luscious spicy chicken stew ready for the eggs!

Add the eggs and continue to simmer, covered, over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Adjust the seasonings according to taste.  Add more berbere according to heat preference.

adding the eggs

doro wat recipe authentic traditional ethiopian chicken stew spicy eggs

Serve with Authentic Injera (Ethiopian Flatbread).

injera recipe ethiopian flatbread authentic traditional teff

Be sure to also try our authentic Sega Wat, the famous and incredibly delicious Ethiopian spicy beef stew!

sega wat recipe ethiopian beef stew spicy authentic best

Lastly, for an authentic Ethiopian side dish to serve with your doro wat, try our Gomen (Ethiopian Collard Greens)!

gomen recipe ethiopian authentic traditional collard greens

Doro Wat (Ethiopian Spiced Chicken)

The national dish of Ethiopia, this spicy chicken stew is simply outstanding!
4.98 from 101 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine African, ethiopian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 647 kcal


  • 3 lbs chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces, or 3 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons niter kibbeh
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups yellow onions finely minced to a chunky puree in food processor
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup Ethiopian berbere
  • or use HOMEMADE BERBERE (HIGHLY recommended!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup Tej Ethiopian honey wine, if you have it, or white wine mixed with 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs pierced all over with fork about 1/4 inch deep


  • Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and pour lemon juice over. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat the niter kibbeh or butter along with the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and saute, covered, over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon butter and continue to saute, covered, for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the berbere and the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter and saute, covered, over low heat for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the chicken, broth, salt and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Adjust the seasonings, adding more berbere according to heat preference. Add the boiled eggs and simmer on low heat, covered, for another 15 minutes.
  • Half or quarter the eggs and arrange on the plates with the stew. Serve hot with injera, bread or rice.


Calories: 647kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 43gFat: 53gSaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 376mgSodium: 885mgPotassium: 680mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 525IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Doro Wat
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


kimberly killebrew the daring gourmet

Hi, I’m Kimberly Killebrew and welcome to Daring Gourmet where you'll find delicious originals, revitalized classics, and simply downright good eats from around the world! Originally from Germany, later raised in England, world-traveled, and now living in the U.S., from my globally-influenced kitchen I invite you to tour the world through your taste buds!

Read more about me...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

4.98 from 101 votes (55 ratings without comment)


  1. Hi there!
    My favorite restaurant serves African cuisine. I would like to find a berebre mix that doesn’t have a lot of cayenne in it as it really tears my stomach up. Is there a list of spices I could create a berbere mix? I love the restaurant but it is getting quite expensive and I want to be able to make it at home.



  2. In 1987 we lived in Yemen for 4 years, it was blooming with the oil, many foreign companies.
    Was the best place because of its people, there were many Christians Ethiopian refugees, and immigrants, I hired a lovely girl as a cook to live in, more to protect her,being alone, I am bolivian born, and wanted to try her cooking, loved the chicken, bread.
    Do you know ,because of Italian colonization, they cook great Italian.
    I buy the spices in a Ethiopian store,to cook their gastronomy.
    I made sure that my cook got was hired by an Embassy as a clerk before we left.

  3. I travel to Ethiopia regularly, and I assure you Ethiopian recipes use LOTS of BUTTER and Salt.
    Use chicken with bones and break the bones before cooking.
    Though not as authentic, I use tomatoes with the onions and back off on the hot peppers until you decide how much you can handle.

  4. Dear Kimberly,
    I am currently living in Ethiopia and cooking is my passion. Since 1989 I am working in the field of development cooperation and have visited and lived in many countries around the world. Your recipe for doro wat it absolutely amazing. I invited my Ethiopian neighbors and the taste was so good. I signed up to receive your newsletter and I like the website with lots of practical information and pictures. Wishing you all the best.
    Kind Regards

    1. I can’t think of a better compliment, Thomas, thank you. I’m thrilled that you and your Ethiopian neighbors enjoyed this and really appreciate the feedback. Thank you also for your support in subscribing to my newsletter, I’m so glad to have you on board! <3

      1. Dear Kimberly,
        thank you for your kind response and your hospitality. I keep ongoing exploring the taste of Ethiopia.
        Kind Regards.

    1. Hi Jason, you could do that, yes, but the flavor and texture outcome just won’t be the same. I don’t recommend this particular recipe for the slow cooker because the slow sauteing process in steps 2-4 are what produce so much of the flavor and those steps cannot be replicated in a slow cooker.

  5. Hi!
    Question about the amount of onions.

    Is it 3 cups (7,2 dl) unminced onions or minced?
    E.g. how much onion do I need to buy? X)

      1. Home brewer here- Mead, particularly “trad” mead made with just honey, water and yeast, is very sweet. Tej is made with an additional ingredient- gesho, a type of buckthorn native to Ethiopia. It works as a bitterant. If you have access to a hopped mead, that might be a closer fit. Otherwise, you could experiment with buckthorn that grows in your region.

  6. Made several of your recipes now and all have been delicious! I’m not a big fan of hard boiled eggs. If I did not include them in the recipe, how much would that affect the overall taste? Thanks!

  7. Hello! I noticed you said this was an authentic recipe. Does that mean this recipe will be really spicy? If so, how do I tame the spice? Thank you!

    1. Hi Sarah, yes this dish is typically very spicy. However you have complete control over that in the form of the spice blend in the recipe called berbere. The berbere is where all the heat is (dried red chilies) and if you make your own berbere blend (I provide the link to the recipe) you can simply omit the dried red chilies or great reduce the quantity. I highly recommend making your own berbere regardless – this fresh, homemade blend will greatly enhance the flavor of the doro wat. Happy cooking!

  8. Great recipe, although in the main text, 2 tsp of salt is said to be added when adding berbere. Later salt is added again with chicken stock, without mentioning quantity. In the recipe section, adding salt is only mentioned once, and the total salt in the ingredient list says 1.5 tsp, which is clearly less than even just the berbere step. So should I add salt twice or not? If twice, is that 1.5 tsp for the stock step, making it 3.5 tsp total for the recipe?