One of my main missions when I visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was to learn about how to cook what is for sure one of the most special of all Ethiopian foods: doro wat (ዶሮ ወጥ). Of course, they do serve it at restaurants in Addis Ababa, but there’s nothing like seeing the entire process of a dish, especially a stew like doro wat from start to finish, beginning with a chicken, and finishing by eating. It’s a very complicated dish to make, and it takes utmost care and time. I want to say a huge thank you to Belaneh and his family for graciously inviting us to their home and for cooking the most amazing doro wat – or even Ethiopian food meal – ever.
What is doro wat (ዶሮ ወጥ)? Doro means chicken and wat means stew – so it’s an Ethiopian chicken stew. It’s a very special dish to eat in Ethiopia, not an everyday food because it takes so much time to prepare properly. As many Ethiopians told me, it’s a dish they often eat when family comes together, and during special holidays and religious days.
I would go as far as saying Doro Wat is one of the best dishes in the world. The complexity yet harmony of spices, the richness, the contrast of taste when paired with injera – your taste buds will be blown off your tongue! Thank you to Bela and his incredible family, they took no shortcuts on making doro wat, and beyond the delicious food, it was so extremely special to get to know them and hang out with them.
We first went to the fresh wet market in Addis Ababa to buy a chicken, the live chicken. We then gathered a few more ingredients, including the chopped red onions, which is the main component of doro wat sauce, and went back to Bela’s home. Butchering a chicken in Ethiopian, due to some of the Ethiopian Orthodox traditions, needs to be butchered in a certain way, and washed and cleaned many times. It was by far the most cleansed chicken I’ve ever seen or eaten. The onions simmered for a few hours before we started adding in the berbere blend spice and finally the chicken went in to brew with the amazing spices.
To eat Ethiopian food, you first typically build a plate or platter of injera, and then scoop the food onto the injera. We all shared a platter and scooped on the beautiful doro wat. It was unbelievably delicious, so rich and packed with spice.
Again, thank you to Bela and his wife (and baby) for cooking us one of the most special meals you can eat in Ethiopia.
Hotel I stayed at in Addis Ababa: www.booking.com/hotel/et/zeist-lodge.en-gb.html?aid=808668
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