Tag Archives: berbere recipe

Weekend Ethiopian Feast

16 Mar

ethiopian doro wat

It seems appropriate to share a recipe that compliments yesterday’s post.  I don’t know a lot about Ethiopian food, but I’ve really wanted to try some for a long time!  I have done some research on making traditional Doro Wat, and found it to be somewhat complicated because of the process as well as the obscurity of the ingredients.  So, I used what I have learned to create this recipe.  I wanted it to be a relatively simple process and hopefully I have not sacrificed too much flavor or authenticity.  Whether or not it is perfect (someone please let me know if there is a way I can improve it!) the flavor of this dish is so rich and multifaceted.  It is savory, spicy, mildly sweet with those hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and fenugreek.  It is fun to eat piping hot inside the warm bread, topped with the curryness of the cabbage.  Oh. My.

What’s more, Doro Wat is so inherently primal!  I love the way you use chicken, pretty much every spice in the rack, then you top it off with some hard boiled eggs.  While I did not have the ingredients to make traditional Injera, which contains grain anyway, I used my favorite simple coconut flour crepes as a sub, which was still delicious.

My friend Jill’s tried and true Doro Wat recipe is one for the slow cooker.  It is very similar to the one I made, and if you prefer using the crock pot, you should definitely give it a try.

Here is what I did.

To start with, many Ethiopian foods contain berbere, which is a mixture of spices used in various ways, from seasoning stews to sprinkling it on buttered toast!  Not only is pre-mixed berbere not easy to come by, but it is prohibitively spicy for the average American palate let alone a 6 year old’s.  So I created my own.


Berbere is now easily available through our favorite source for spices, Penzey’s!!  But it will be pretty spicy.  If you are concerned about the heat level, my recipe (below) is very mild.

3/4 c paprika
1/2 c chili powder (this was originally written as cayenne pepper. Um, not happening for my kids!)
2 T salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp turmeric

Mix all the spices together, store in an airtight jar.


Doro Wat:

2 large onions, diced
6 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 tbsp oil (I used grapeseed)
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can diced tomatoes
6 tbsp berbere spice blend
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
4-6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
cayenne pepper to taste

In a large pot or dutch oven, sauteé the onion, garlic and ginger in oil about 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.  Stir in the salt, berbere, and diced tomatoes.  Mixture will be thick.   Add the chicken breasts and mix well.  Simmer (you should only see 1-2 bubbles per second) on low for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is fork tender.  DON’T OVERCOOK!!!  Stir often.  When the chicken is finished, toss in the hard boiled eggs.  Season with cayenne, or pepper of choice to desired level of spiciness.

doro wat


Cabbage and Sweet Potatoes:
(this was absolutely insanely good!) 

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1  1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

Slice the onion and cabbage on a mandolin plane if you have one, it makes it evenly sliced throughout the dish.  Heat the oil in a pan, and sautee the onion and ginger until soft.  Stir in salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric, and cabbage.  Cook another 15 minutes, stirring often.  Add the diced potatoes, and cover.  Cook, stirring often, until potatoes are soft. Reseason if necessary.  I used probably twice the amount of spice but I like things strongly flavored!

 “Injera” (coconut flour crepes!)

4 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1/2 tsp salt

Mix ingredients well.  I had to add a few teaspoons of water to get the batter to thin a little more.  Heat griddle to 350 degrees.  Pour about 1/4 c batter to a tortilla-size onto griddle, and cook like pancakes.

Plate the Doro Wat and cabbage, and fill the crepes with both the chicken and the cabbage.  Eat up!

Enjoy…with gratitude!

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