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 Wat

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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73 Responses to “How to Make an Ethiopian Feast”

  1. #
    51
    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

  2. #
    52
    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

  3. #
    53
    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

  4. #
    54
    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

  5. #
    55
    eve — November 16, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

    There are some nice Ethiopian restaurants here in Portland Oregon too. I am even happier, however, that there is a good Ethiopian MARKET near me, so I can buy all the spices, and also a fresh batch of delicious injera whenever I want to make a feast at home. Making one tonight actually, it’s what my son requested for his 18th birthday!

    Reply

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