Ethiopian Chicken Doro Wat
Ethiopian Chicken Doro Wat Recipe: This Slow Cooker Chicken Doro Wat (One of our favorite Ethiopian Recipes) is simple to prepare, but tastes ultra-rich and spicy. Serve it with our quick Injera Recipe and Mesir Wat Lentils.
Ethiopian Chicken Stew
Depending on where you live, Ethiopian recipes might not be on the top of your weekly dinner menu. Yet maybe they should be!
After years of visiting cities around the US with large Ethiopian communities, and amazing Ethiopian restaurants, we’ve started making our favorite Ethiopian recipes as home. I have found it’s much easier than I thought to make this exciting cuisine in my own kitchen.
With a few key ingredients, you too can make all kinds of robust and intriguing dishes that originated in Ethiopia.
One of my top Ethiopian recipes to make at home is Doro Wat Chicken Stew, a rich saucy chicken dish made with butter, wine, and spices.
What Is Doro Wat? (Doro Wot?)
Doro Wat is a classic Ethiopian recipe often made with beef or lamb. However, the most popular version outside of Ethiopia is Chicken Doro Wat.
It’s a slow-cooked dish made with luxurious clarified butter, red wine, lots of exotic spices, and chicken.
In classic Ethiopian “wat” recipes, the onions are cooked without fat, so they break down and thicken the stew base. When onions are sautéed in butter, the fat coating helps to hold their shape. Therefore, in doro wat recipes, the butter is added after the onions are cooked.
There are many variations of Doro Wat (Doro Wot). Some use whole bone-in chicken pieces, others cook boneless chicken down to shreds. We prefer making shredded Doro Wat, because the “barbecue beef” consistency makes it easier to scoop up with traditional Injera bread. So this version is an Ethiopian shredded chicken stew with all of the authentic flavors of classic doro wat, just a little easier to eat!
Easy Doro Wot Recipe At Home
We don’t have Ethiopian markets here in Asheville, NC, therefore my Ethiopian recipes have had to be tweaked quite a bit.
Most wat recipes 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, or online. I’m pretty pleased with the results.
Cooking Ethiopian Chicken in the crockpot makes it super easy to start dinner in the morning and come home to something fragrant and enticing! The flavor is spicy and sumptuous, with heavy notes of wine, chiles, and butter. It’s the perfect addition to any Ethiopian feast!
Doro Wat Ingredients Checklist
Here’s what you need to make zesty Ethiopian chicken stew…
- Onions, garlic, and ginger
- Boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs
- Clarified butter – or regular butter
- Red wine – Ethiopian wine if available!
- Tomato paste – for color and depth of flavor
- Berbere spice blend – or homemade mix
- Dried thyme – or fresh thyme
- Sugar and salt
- Lime juice
What is Berbere You Might Ask?
Berbere is a popular Ethiopian spice blend that combines paprika, spicy dried chiles, fenugreek, cinnamon, cumin, and many more spices. If you live in a city with a good international market, you should be able to find it.
However, you can also make a quickie version by mixing…
- Hot smoked paprika
- Garam masala – This common India spice blend incorporates most of the spices needed in the right proportion, and is easier to find!
- Crushed red pepper
- Fenugreek seeds
- Ground cardamom
Making Ethiopian Recipes – Doro Wat
- Add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger to a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and pan-fry it for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the ingredients. Pro Tip: In classic “wat” recipes, the onions are cooked without fat, so they break down and thicken the stew base. The butter is added later.
- Grab your slow cooker and scoop the onion mixture into the crockpot. Then place all other ingredients (excluding the lime juice) in the slow cooker and cover with the lid.
- Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours.
- Once the chicken is fork-tender, pull the pieces out of the slow cooker with tongs and place on a cutting board. Use forks to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Place the chicken back into the wine sauce and then stir in the lime juice and keep warm until ready to serve.
Get The Complete (Printable) Ethiopian Chicken Doro Wat Recipe Below. Enjoy!
What Should You Serve with Chicken Doro Wat?
Family share platters at Ethiopian restaurants usually start out with a large piece of Injera bread, with all sorts of stewed dishes on top. Then more Injera is served on the side, so you can tear pieces off of the crepe-like bread and use it to scoop up the various dishes with your hands (no utensils required!)
Serve fresh-made Doro Wat with
- Injera Bread
- Mesir Wat Red Lentils
- Kitfo Beef Tartare
- Ayib Cheese
- Yellow Peas or Daal
- Collard Greens and
- chopped Tomato Salad.
Most of these dishes can be made ahead of time, if needed, but it’s best to make the Injera fresh before serving.
Note: the links to yellow peas and collards aren’t technically Ethiopian recipes, but they are similar and VERY delicious!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will this recipe last?
You can keep this recipe in the fridge for 5-7 days. Wrap well and place in the back of the refrigerator.
Can I keep this recipe in the freezer?
Yes, you can freeze Doro Wot for up to 6 months. Be sure to pack it tightly in an airtight container, so it does not get freezer burn.
Can I use other meats besides chicken?
Yes, this recipe can be made with beef roast, pork loin, mutton, or even goat meat. Cut the meat into 3-4 inch chunks so it will cook according to the recipe instructions.
Other World Flavor Recipes
- Ethiopian Homemade Injera Bread Recipe
- Best Simple Roti Recipe (Chapati Bread)
- Easy Baked Corned Beef and Cabbage in the Oven
- Brazilian Feijoada Recipe (Pork and Black Bean Stew)
- Paleo Firecracker Chicken Recipe
- Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe (Caldo Verde)
Ethiopian Chicken Doro Wat Recipe
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs
- 1 cup clarified butter (or regular butter)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup red wine (Ethiopian if available)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2/3 cup berbere spice blend (see homemade version below)
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 lime, juiced
- Set a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Pan-fry for 3-5 minutes to soften. (In classic "wat" recipes, the onions are cooked without fat, so they break down and thicken the stew base. The butter is added later.)
- Set out a large 6-8 quart slow cooker. Scoop the onion mixture into the crock. Place all the remaining ingredients, excluding the lime juice, in a slow cooker and cover. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- Once the chicken is fork-tender, pull the pieces out of the slow cooker with tongs and place on a cutting board. Use forks to shred the chicken to bite-sized pieces. Place back into the wine sauce. Then stir in the lime juice and keep warm until ready to serve.