How to Make an Ethiopian Feast

All the fragrances and flavors of classic Ethiopian Recipes on one big platter. Slow cooker Chicken Doro Wat and this quick Injera Recipe are the base of a truly exotic meal!

Sometimes I wonder why certain cities have large specified cultural communities within them. What caused so many immigrants from a particular country to gravitate toward one US city? Was there one family that settled there first then invited their friends to  follow, or did it have something to do with the climate and agriculture?

I may not be sure about the “whys” of this occurrence, but it does make eating around the United States very interesting. There are certain cities we travel to, knowing we will get fantastic Vietnamese, Korean, Indian or Ethiopian cuisine and we look forward to those meals more than any other attraction.

Several major American cities have large Ethiopian populations with amazing restaurants and markets throughout. Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas are among the largest.

Doro WatCrystal Goblets from Villeroy & Boch.

 When we visit family in Dallas, we always gorge ourselves on Ethiopian recipes because we know we may not enjoy this exciting and complex cuisine again for a long time. That is, unless I decide to make it at home.

A classic Ethiopian platter that you receive in a restaurant, is full of possibilities. There are so many Ethiopian recipes it’s a little hard to nail it down.

I can tell you, a family-size Ethiopian platter usually consists of:

  • 1-2 meat stews, made of chicken, beef or lamb
  • 1-2 lentil/legume dishes, such as Mesir Wat
  • 1-2 cooked vegetables, including yellow peas, mixed vegetable stews and collard greens
  • 1 raw vegetable dish, usually a simple lettuce or tomato based salad
  • and Ayib, fresh Ethiopian cheese

Ethiopian Platter

All these dishes are served on a large platter covered with Injera, Ethiopian sourdough crepes. Then more Injera is served on the side. The Injera is tangy and pliable, and is used instead of utensils to pick up the rest of the food. You simply tear off pieces of the bread and pinch up the other dishes with it.

Injera Recipe

As we don’t have Ethiopian markets in Asheville, NC, my Ethiopian recipes have had to be tweaked quite a bit. Most dishes use berbere paste and spiced butter. Lacking these standard Ethiopian ingredients, I adjusted the list of spices to incorporate the same flavors of traditional spicy chicken Doro Wat stew, using ingredients you can find in a regular grocery store. I’m pretty pleased with the results.

How to Make Injera

The other major adjustment I made was to the Injera. This sourdough pancake, of sorts, is usually made of teff flour and fermented for several days before cooking. With a busy schedule, I don’t start anything 3 days before I plan to eat it, so this had to be addressed.

After several test runs, I ended up using a mix of standard flour and buckwheat flour, adding a hefty dose of club soda and vinegar. The results were fantastic for a quickie version, tender, rollable and undoubtedly sour.  …And absolutely no waiting.

Ethiopian Injera

Ethiopian platters are a great idea for your adventurous dinner guests. There’s nothing like sitting around a large colorful platter of exotic dishes, scooping them up with your hands. Oh the memories you will make.

You can start the Doro Wat in the slow cooker before you head off to work, then whip up the Injera, Mesir Wat, Ayib (even Yellow Peas and Collards and Tomato Salad if you like) when you get home. Most of these can be made ahead as well.

A divine feast fit for African royalty!

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Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Doro Wat with Quick Injera Recipe

Ingredients:

For the Doro Wat:
3 lbs. boneless chicken, breasts and thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 cup red wine
2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cardamom
2 Tb. garam masala
1/3 cup hot smoked paprika
1 Tb. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1 Tb. dried thyme
3 Tb. tomato paste
1 Tb. sugar
1 lime, juiced

For the Injera Recipe:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
2 Tb. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 cups club soda
1 cup white or rice vinegar
Oil for pan

Directions:

For the Doro Wat: Place all the ingredients, minus the lime juice, in a slow cooker and cover. Cook for 4-6 hours--depending on your slow cooker settings--until the chicken is tender. Then mash the chicken to shreds with a potato masher (or the bottom of a ladle.) Stir in the lime juice and keep warm.

For the Injera Recipe: In a large bowl, mix both flours, salt and baking soda together. Whisk in the club soda until smooth. Then add the vinegar and whisk.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour oil on a paper towel and wipe the skillet with the oiled paper towel.

Using a scoop, pour batter into the skillet creating a 6 inch circle. Carefully swirl the pan around to thin out the batter until it measures 8-9 inches across.

Cook for 1 minute, then using a large spatula, flip the Injera over and cook another minute. Remove from the skillet and stack on a plate.

Repeat with remaining batter. The Injera will seem slightly crisp in the pan, but will soften immediately when placed on the plate.

Once finished cooking the Injera. Cut the circles in half with a pizza cutter, roll into tubes and stack. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve the Doro Wat and Injera together, tearing piece of Injera and using it to pick up the Doro Wat.

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71 Responses to “How to Make an Ethiopian Feast”

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    1
    jo ann Buller — March 22, 2012 @ 6:34 am

    i can’t wait to try this recipe it looks delicious

    Reply

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    Cassie — March 22, 2012 @ 6:36 am

    Great post, Sommer! There is an Ethiopian cafe down the street that I have wanted to try, and after seeing these recipes, I need to do it. Everything looks and sounds so good!

    Reply

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    Toby @ Plate Fodder — March 22, 2012 @ 6:52 am

    Sommer – there are a heap of Ethiopian Markets and Restaurants here in the Atlanta area… and it’s a heck of a lot closer than Dallas :)

    But then again – with that spread, who needs restaurants! looks great!

    Reply

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    Belinda @zomppa — March 22, 2012 @ 6:57 am

    Super impressed! Doro Wat is one of my favorite dishes EVER…though still not a huge fan of the sour injera…but that’s just me. My taste buds haven’t grown into the sour appreciation phase yet (except for Sour Patch Kids).

    Reply

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    Becky Carico — March 22, 2012 @ 6:58 am

    I live in north of Dallas and there is an Ethiopian restaurant named Queen of Sheba that is to die for!!! I love Ethiopian food. If you live near the DFW area you must try it out!!

    Reply

    • Sommer — March 22nd, 2012 @ 7:13 am

      Hey Becky, I’VE BEEN TO QUEEN OF SHEBA!! So fabulous, I’m missing it right now.

      Reply

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    Nelly Rodriguez — March 22, 2012 @ 7:17 am

    I definitely need to make this platter soon! Looks amazing and I LOVE Ethiopian food!

    Reply

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    Erica — March 22, 2012 @ 7:40 am

    Wow, this is so unique! I’ve never seen Ethiopian food on any other blog! Thanks for the refreshing change. I have to admit, though, I’m a bit intimidated by all the ingredients. But its fantastic that you tried this. Very ambitious.

    Reply

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    the wicked noodle — March 22, 2012 @ 7:50 am

    WOW, that is one gorgeous plate of food!! I just adore ethnic foods of any kind. I’ve never made Ethiopian food at home but you’ve inspired me!

    Reply

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    katie — March 22, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    WOW–this platter looks amazing. I think I need to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant first before I try recreating it at home! :)

    Reply

    • Natnael Kasshun — February 18th, 2013 @ 9:01 am

      I am from Ethiopia. “Do you like Our food we know we are the greatest?”

      Reply

      • Rebka — November 1st, 2013 @ 5:48 am

        Sure we are!!! am cooking Ethiopian food for 13 guests from different nationalities. BY REQUEST!!!!! ;-)

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    Kris — March 22, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    I love Ethiopian food! Montreal is another city with great Ethiopian restaurants. I seriously dream about how good it is. When you go to Dallas, what restaurant do you frequent? I’ve been trying to find a good Ethiopian place for a while.

    Reply

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    Our Eating Habits — March 22, 2012 @ 9:00 am

    I will so be making this. My mother in law was raised in Ethiopia, and so this is her favorite food. Won’t she be surprised when she comes over for dinner!

    Reply

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    Cher — March 22, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    Love the quick “injera” – you are right, planning 3 days ahead of time is not usually happening in our house either…

    Reply

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    Jen @ Juanita's Cocina — March 22, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    Oh yum.

    We had ethiopian food for the first time when we were in DC for our wedding and honeymoon. I am SO excited to try this out!

    Reply

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    Asiya — March 22, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    Totally wishing we had some Ethopian restaurants nearby….chicken looks fabulous! I’ve printed out your Mesir Wat recipe & will be making it soon!

    Reply

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    Lisa Warren — March 22, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    OMG! This looks so good. I lived in DC or 6 years and survived on Ethiopian food. It’s really the best cuisine – flavorful, rich, very comforting, and healthy. You are making me hungry!

    Reply

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    Michelle — March 22, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    I’ve been falling in love with Ethiopian food lately. We have a restaurant down the street, and I love going!

    Reply

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    Steve @ HPD — March 22, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    no earthly idea what kind of market ethiopian market denver has … at least, in comparison to the bigger cities you mentioned. i know of a couple of restaurants, and they’re not bad, but need to spend more time checking them out. cheers!

    Reply

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    Robyn — March 22, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    Sommer-
    Thanks for sharing this. There used to be an Ethiopian restaurant in Miami but it went out of business and I’ve been wanting to try for a while. I’m going to give this a shot!!

    Reply

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    Gabrielle | Fig Test Kitchen — March 22, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

    Oh wow oh wow that rolled up injera is so beautiful! As is that platter… I cannot wait to make this!

    Reply

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    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — March 22, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    I love the idea of having a dinner party where everyone eats with their hands!

    Reply

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    Lan — March 22, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    i lived in addis ababa as a kid and i adore ethiopian cuisine. living in baltimore, i am very pleased to say that there are TWO great ethiopian restaurants i can hit up when i have a craving.
    i’d love to attempt an actual feast but the fact that there are so many side dishes to make for just one meal, plus the actual injera makes it hard to be motivated to make all them…
    your pix are gorgeous, sometimes it’s hard to take shots of ethnic foods appetizingly.

    Reply

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    Jeanette — March 22, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

    I find Ethiopian cuisine fascinating. Wish we had a restaurant nearby so I could try it. Thanks for sharing your recipes so I can try it at home.

    Reply

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    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — March 22, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

    WOWSER!! What a tempting and delicious feasts! I’ve never sample ethiopian foods before. Can’t wait to try it soon :)

    Reply

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    Sanjeeta KK — March 23, 2012 @ 5:39 am

    Those crepes look so delicate and healthy..need to give a try.

    Reply

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    Brian @ A Thought For Food — March 23, 2012 @ 7:29 am

    Ok… I HAVE to make this. What I love about Ethiopian food is that it’s so veggie heavy. And then you just gather around and scoop it all up with your hands. I just love it!

    Reply

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    Susan — March 23, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    What a terrific post, Sommer! I learned so much here today … Ethiopian cuisine is totally new to me. have never heard of teff, but will keep my eye out for it in other dishes now.

    The composition of the typical Ethiopian plate is indeed a healthy way of eating! You’ve done well in recreating it!

    Reply

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    Jersey Girl Cooks — March 23, 2012 @ 8:26 am

    I have never made anything Ethiopian before but would love to try. Thanks for all the recipes and ideas.

    Reply

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    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — March 23, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    Great one! I truly learned something new!

    Reply

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    Kiri W. — March 23, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    Absolutely beautiful! I love Ethiopian food and would love to learn how to cook it. Yum! lookign forward to all these recipes!

    Reply

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    Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) — March 23, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    This is really amazing. I can’t wait to try this out at home!

    Reply

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    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — March 23, 2012 @ 10:22 am

    This was such an educational, interesting and mouthwatering post Sommer! Everything looks delicious and new. Thanks for sharing. Also, I’m having a great giveaway today with four potential prize winners, so you should enter!

    Reply

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    Cookin' Canuck — March 23, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    This is such fun, Sommer! When we lived in NYC, we frequented an Ethiopian restaurant near our apartment. Not only was the food great, but we loved being able to eat with our hands.

    Reply

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    Sarah — March 23, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    Oh man, I LOVE ethiopian food, and have always been turned away from making it at home be of the multi-day process of injera. I’ll have to try this recipe! Thanks!

    Reply

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    Kristen M. — March 23, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

    This looks delicious. I’ve enjoyed eating at a local Ethiopian restaurant (San Diego) but I’ve never attempted to make an Ethiopian dish at home. Thanks for the post!

    Reply

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    Ruby — March 24, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    Wow – that’s so ambitious and looks incredible. Very inspiring! (I especially love the photo of the rolled injera.)

    Reply

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    Debbie — March 25, 2012 @ 7:37 am

    what is the name of the Dallas restaraunt? I live south of Dallas but visit there often.

    Reply

    • Sommer — March 28th, 2012 @ 10:28 am

      Hey Debbie, The only restaurants I’ve visited are in North Dallas. My brother lives in Plano so we stay in that area. Check out Queen of Sheba.

      Reply

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    Denise — March 25, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    This sounds tasty and fun for a dinner gathering! I love your creative take on the injera! That does make it much easier to make. I have all the spices and such in my pantry so this should be easy! Thanks for the inspiration! BTW, what is the vegetable dish, abesha gomen?
    Thanks for another wonderful post. I love your blog!!

    Reply

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    Deanna — March 27, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

    I love Ethiopian food. Its all I wanted to eat when I was in DC. Luckily, there is a restaurant 20 minutes from my house. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the injera tends to fill me up to quick. I tend to bring a fork with me for when that happens.

    Reply

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    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — March 29, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    I LOVE Ethiopian food. This looks super tasty. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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    beti — March 29, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

    this is all new for me but it still looks like a great and delicious feast

    Reply

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    The Mistress of Spices — April 10, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    Oh man, now I’m REALLY missing Ethiopian food which we don’t have at all here in Bangkok. Makes me long for my days of living in DC (which I believe is the city which the largest Ethiopian population outside of Addis). Your recipes sound great…I love the shortcut injera! And the photo of the platter is just fantastic! I can’t wait to try some of these recipes.

    Reply

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    Cheese with Noodles — April 15, 2012 @ 1:39 am

    Okay, I definitely need to make this! I’ve only had Ethiopian food once 7 years ago, but it was very good. The injera in particular was very unique and memorable. I don’t have any fenugreek seeds unfortunately and can just about guarantee there isn’t anywhere to be found in my town (middle of Alaska!) but I DID happen to pick up garam masala and ground cardamom last time I was in Seattle. I will probably just try to make this without the fenugreek! Can’t wait, I wonder what my husband will think! I’ll let you know how it turns out :)

    Reply

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    Dayna — April 18, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    Thanks for the recipes! Incidentally, I think outside of NYC & DC, Minneapolis-St.Paul has the largest population of African-born immigrants, including plenty of Ethiopians, Somalians and Eritreans who all have similar cuisines. We’ve been blessed with East African restaurant choices!

    Reply

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    Kate — October 9, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

    Made this tonight and it was delicious! The injera is the best I’ve tried without teff. Thanks so much! Have you had quelulu? I’m looking for a recipe for that as it’s my favorite Ethiopian dish, but can’t find it anywhere.

    Reply

    • Sommer — October 9th, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

      Oh I’m so glad to hear it! I’ve not heard of quelulu… but I can ask around.

      Reply

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    Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) — November 9, 2012 @ 11:38 am

    You do have an injera recipe – found it! I’m going to have to try making my own now.

    I also didn’t realize that you are in Asheville. My husband and I try to get there at least once every year. It’s almost hard to believe that there isn’t an Ethiopian restaurant in town considering how many other ethnic cuisines are available. Next time I really want to go to the Nepali restaurant since so many of my clients are from Nepal.

    Reply

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    Rose — March 8, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

    Teff flour is easily available through mail order. Most health foods and natural foods stores carry at least teff which can be ground. It takes only 1 day to ferment injera. Mix it in a bowl placed on kitchen counter with a towel over and forget it until dinner time the next day. Berebere paste or dry spice mix can be easily made with ingredients most people already have in their cupboards. Berebere is a must for the true Ethiopian taste.
    I say let’s not be afraid of our foods and food prep, lets make it an adventure!
    If you want a recipe for berebere, I have a great one!

    Reply

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    kathleen — April 3, 2013 @ 12:46 am

    One of the reasons that cities have certain populations of immigrants is that they have somehow become friendly to them, usually through a refugee program. In Minneapolis, we have had several waves of Vietnamese refugees, Ethiopian and Somali. Injera bread is sold in my neighborhood store, Everett’s, which is pretty American at first glance. Fortunately, I can skip that cooking step!

    Reply

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    Cindy — May 25, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

    I made several of your Ethiopian recipes tonight to try to duplicate the lovely spread above… WOW – you nailed it!! Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been meaning to try cooking Ethiopian food for awhile, but this was the first time I felt like there was enough comprehensive direction for a full meal. Rave reviews all around from my guests! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

    Reply

    • Sommer — May 28th, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

      SO glad you liked it Cindy!

      Reply

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    Bogale — August 6, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

    So happy that Ethiopian food is so popular in the USA. There are at least 8 restaurants here in Amsterdam(Holland) and all are doing good business. My grand parents in Ethiopia largely cooked vegetarian and passed away at the age of 89 and 96. My mother still lives and she is 86 . Her sister 89 is also very healthy and cook! My grand parents used only barley to make ijnera . However, my mother uses a mix of teff and barely.

    Reply

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    linda — August 8, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

    I made this recipe and it was awesome. I will never go out for Ethiopian food ever again. Thanks so much for posting this. If you have more please let me know.

    Reply

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    Michelle — September 12, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

    Oh my god, that looks DELICIOUS. :) Ethiopian food is so fascinating to me but kind of intimidating. This looks like a wonderful way to start in on it.

    And yes, immigrant communities generally spring from several influential families moving in to a particular area and then sort of pioneering a community for fellow immigrants to grow around. Sometimes it’s the climate and agriculture but not always. (My parents immigrated from the tropical Philippines to frigid Chicago winters — it definitely wasn’t about climate for them!)

    Reply

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    Raeavljus — January 9, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

    I love Ethiopian food, but I’m also a bit lazy in the kitchen sometimes… so this looks like a good recipe to try… However, traditional Doro Wat has chicken on the bone pieces… and (the best part) whole hard boiled eggs (with the shell off of course) in it. Doro Wat is one of my faves, so I will try tweaking this recipe to include the eggs and bigger pieces of chicken.

    Reply

    • Ruthe — January 19th, 2014 @ 9:27 pm

      I have been to Ethiopia a number of times lived and taught there. I learned how to cook authentic Doro Wat. We use a whole chicken onions, garlic, tomatoe paste, and juice.
      Berberi spice may be purchased at specialty stores. Use 3 Tbsp to make a hot dish. Original injera is best made with teff flour and the starter may be purchased from Ethiopian resturants.
      Tibs is another favourite dish as are the other dishes mentioned for the feast.
      Sharro, made from ground corn is eaten by the poorer families.

      Reply

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    Lorraine — February 9, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

    Thank you so much for posting these recipes, we were new to Ethiopian cooking, but make these dishes all the time now! Very yummy indeed!

    Reply

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    Gator cook — March 29, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

    Awesome recipe. The hot smoked paprika that I bought from Amazon was super hot, so I only used 4 tsp of it and filled the remainder of the 1/3 cup with regular smoked paprika. Left everything else the same. Delicious!

    Reply

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