Doro wat is a traditional and very common chicken stew served in Ethiopian restaurants and homes. The onions are caramelized with lemon juice, garlic, spiced butter and (distinctively Ethipian) berbere spice blend for robust flavor and the chicken is slow simmered to unimaginable tenderness. This recipe takes a bit of patience in the kitchen, but it’s fairly easy to make and well worth the effort. Comforting, tender, delicious and rich with spicy flavors, let’s just call doro wat food for the soul.
If making your own spiced butter: prepare the spiced butter following this niter kibbeh recipe.
Rinse the chicken under cool running water and pat it dry.
Place whole chicken pieces in a large gallon-sized zip-close baggie. Sprinkle generously with salt and pour lemon over the chicken. Close the baggie, carefully squeezing out all of the air while zipping it closed. Shake the baggie back and forth to ensure your chicken is fully coated. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with room temperature water. Bring water to a boil and cook for 5 – 7 minutes. Turn off heat and transfer the eggs into a bowl of ice water to cool.
When the eggs are cool enough to handle, take one in your hand and gently tap it on the countertop or edge of the bowl to crack it. Gently roll the egg to evenly break the shell over the entire surface. Peel the egg under a slow trickle of cold water, careful to retrieve and discard all shell pieces.
Set aside at room temperature for later.
Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
In a bowl, prepare ice water.
Using a sharp knife, score the bottom of each tomato with an X. Using a slotted spoon or ladle, submerge one tomato, bottom side up, in the boiling water for 15 seconds, or until the skin begins to peel back from your incision mark.
Transfer the tomato into the ice water until cooled, and then allow it to drain. Repeat process for each tomato.
Using a paring knife, begin peeling back the skin from the scored lines. The skin should slip right off. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. Use your fingers or a spoon to scoop the seeds out over a bowl. Discard the seeds. Roughly chop the tomatoes and set them aside.
Slice open the chilies and (using gloved fingers to hold stem end), cut away the membrane and seeds. Discard the seeds and roughly chop the chilies.
Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.
Peel and thinly slice the onions.
Juice the lemon.
Heat the spiced butter in a skillet over medium-high. Add the onions and sauté until they soften and become translucent (about 5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 40 minutes to caramelize the onions. If onion begins to stick to the pan, add 1 – 2 tablespoons broth and stir, scraping the browned bits back into the onion mixture.
Once the onions are deeply browned and saucy, add berbere spice and stir to thoroughly mix with onions and release their spice aroma.
Next add the garlic and ginger. Cook until aromatic (about 1 minute more).
Then stir in the following:
Once the mixture is combined, add the chicken and marinade from baggie. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat again to medium-low. Simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through (about 40 minutes).
Add the boiled eggs and allow to cook over low until eggs are warmed.
Serve hot over a bit of injera (Ethiopian flat bread) or rice.