I’m fortunate to live in an area of the country that has a strong Ethiopian population and numerous restaurants to try in the city. I was very unfamiliar with this cuisine prior to my move to Washington, DC from western Pennsylvania in 2004 but I soon had the opportunity to try it out with a group of friends (which in my opinion, is the best way to try new cuisines…especially family-style!)
I write this two days after cooking this meal and I can still report that my home smells of these spices. I elected to make a pretty traditional chicken dish, Doro Wat, which is a very (if you ask me) spicy dish that is a perfect complement to the sourness of the injera bread. In the various recipes I found online, many called for niter kibeh, which is a clarified butter with spices. I went to a few markets in the area and was unable to locate this, so I improvised with ghee and the majority of spices listed in niter kibeh, which fortunately I already had. After two years of working on this project, this shouldn’t come as a surprise but it still amazes me a bit. Recipes also called for what I consider to be an insane amount of berbere spice (1/2-1/4 cup!) which I think was the ultimate culprit for the smell that is emanating in my home for 2 days. Spice-wise, Matt felt it could have even used a bit more and for me, I was very sniffly and lost feeling in my tongue at some points.
Traditionally this is all eaten with your hands where you use the injera to pick up meats, lentils, and a variety of vegetables. Since I didn’t have the time to make a traditional injera bread for the whole fermentation process, I found a quick version that replicated the taste without the large time commitment.
Recipes I used: https://www.daringgourmet.com/doro-wat-spicy-ethiopian-chicken-stew/ and https://www.aspicyperspective.com/ethiopian-recipes-injera-doro-wat/
Overall Level of Effort: 2
Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Would Make it Again? Probably not.
Additional Notes: I gave this a “2” rating on effort namely for the time involved in cooking (this clocks in at around 3 hours but the prep time is fairly short) and while the stew itself is easy to make, the injera bread takes a little bit of skill when it comes to the flipping the injera. But it gets easier after the first one, I promise!