Chicken Wat

I’ve been craving something spicy for the last couple of days! I remember eating an Ethiopian stew called wat when I visited my friend in Virginia. Wat is an Ethiopian stew or curry made with chicken, beef, lamb, or vegetables.

My friend was attending college at that time. I got the chance to meet a few of her friends while I was visiting. They were from Ethiopia. One night, she hosted an international dinner. Her friends brought Injera, which is an Ethiopian bread, and spicy chicken stew. It was so delicious!

In big cities, you’ll probably find this dish at a restaurant. I don’t have that option. I decided to do what I always do and create my own! I’ve visited numerous websites and scanned through a few cookbooks to make berbere. Berbere, which is a spice mixture, is essential for the stew’s flavor. Mine may not be authentic, but it’s pretty close to what I had at my friend’s house.

This stew is pretty spicy. If that’s an issue, you may want to use less berbere in the recipe. If you do, make sure to add the corresponding amount of paprika. It’ll give the wat that signature red aesthetic without the extra spice.



Berbere spice mix

  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup ground red pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. coriander ground
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. each ground cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek
  • 1/4 tsp. each ground nutmeg, allspice, cloves

Chicken and egg

  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin on chicken thigh, excess skin trimmed
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups yellow onions, pulsed in food processor till finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup berbere
  • 1/4 tsp. each ground cardamom, fenugreek, nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 hard boiled egg, peeled, cut shallow slits in each


Berbere spice mix

Toast spices in a heavy fry pan on stove top. Stir frequently for 5-8 minutes. Cool and store in a tightly sealed container in refrigerator or freezer.

Making this will get you 1 cup of spice. This recipe only requires 1/4. You can use the rest to make more or for other dishes.


Chicken and egg

Mix chicken with lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. salt, then set aside.

In a large sauce pan, add oil and ghee over medium heat. Once ghee is melted, add onion. Cook until onions are soft but not browned for 10 minutes. Stir often.

Add garlic, ginger and stir well. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring often. Add berbere, paprika, fenugreek, cardamom, 3/4 tsp. salt and nutmeg. Stir well. Turn down the heat to low and cook for another minute or so. Pour in 1/2 cup of water and stir well.


Add chicken to the sauce, along with any juices. Turn pieces until fully coated and cook for 5 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup of water to the chicken and mix well. Cover and cook on low for 40 minutes. Turn few times to coat chicken evenly. Sauce should be same consistency as heavy cream.

Add eggs to the sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Remove the chicken skin before serving if preferred.


Serves 6

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram. If you would to be notified of upcoming posts, please consider subscribing to my blog!

2 responses to “Chicken Wat”

  1. Christina, thanks for reminding me of this beloved recipe. We love both Doro (chicken) and Yebeg (lamb) wat at our house, and I have a recipe for an easy (not authentic, but pretty good) form of Injera bread. If you want it let me know!

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