Ethiopian-Inspired Spicy Chicken Stew

January 2, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

One of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles is discovering new flavors. The first time I tried Ethiopian food, I had doro wat, which is a spicy chicken stew. Doro wat has some kick to it, and there are many different spices that contribute to the deep flavor of this stew, which makes it one of my favorite comfort foods. This is a modified version of doro wat that I scrapped together based on the variations of doro wat that I have had at restaurants and some help from Saveur's recipe:

Abbie C

Food52 Review: WHO: Abbie C is a dinner party-loving biologist.
WHAT: A one-pot chicken dinner different than all the others.
HOW: Make a spice mix, then brown, simmer, and braise -- in that order.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love us a one-pot braised chicken dish, but they're easy to tire of. This one -- with its range of thrumming spices and its hard-boiled eggs, is a breath of fresh air for your weeknight meals. We're making it tonight.
The Editors

Serves: 4


  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium yellow onion, grated
  • 2 teaspoons high heat oil (I used grapesseed)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 28 ounces can of whole peeled tomatoes with juices
  • 1 splash dry red wine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 whole chicken legs with skin (2 legs, 2 thighs)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • Salt to taste
In This Recipe


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the spices.
  2. Cut the chicken legs into four pieces (i.e. 2 legs, 2 thighs), and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan with deep sides and brown the chicken on all sides over medium-high until golden. Take the chicken out of the pan and lower heat to medium-low and add the butter, onions, and grated ginger. Cook the onions and ginger for about 5 minutes, but don’t let them brown (a little golden is okay). Add the dry spice mixture and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices and break them up using a spoon. Add the garlic and a splash of red wine and stir to incorporate.
  4. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer over low to medium low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the sauce is fairly thick. Add salt to taste.
  5. About 5 minutes before you plan to serve, peel the eggs and add to the stew to heat them through. Doro wat is usually served with injera, which is a spongy Ethiopian flatbread that tastes similar to sourdough bread. This stew is also good with brown rice or even roasted cauliflower (as shown in the photo). I'm not sure I'd recommend serving it with Brussels sprouts (also see photo), which I only did to use up some vegetable odds and ends. I would, however, recommend some collard greens if you'd like something green to go along with it.

More Great Recipes:
Stew|Ethiopian|Red Wine|Egg|Chicken|Turmeric|Entree

Reviews (44) Questions (0)

44 Reviews

humanbean January 24, 2019
Made this with a bone-in pork butt/shoulder in a pressure cooker (1 hour cooktime). <br /><br />Can honestly say it was one of the best meals I've had!
Richard September 7, 2016
This is a really, really tasty dish. I increased the spices by half or a bit more, and swapped out the chicken for chickpeas and served on nan. I was a hero! (also because I clean up)
Owl August 23, 2016
Make certain to use legal pepper sauce. It will burn coming out. Jerk chicken can do that. So hot it is inedible unless you have no taste buds left. Otherwise it is good. You can try a dish similar to this at the Animal Kingdom lodge.
Windischgirl May 16, 2016
Made this with boneless chicken thighs and it was a hit with my college-age crew. It was fun to eat with injera, and I made some spiced lentils and a Tunisian vegetable mixture to along. Yum! A definite make-again.
Chloroph November 9, 2015
Made this last night and it was excellent! Followed the recipe exactly and wouldn't change a thing. Except the part that tells you to use a frying pan. This left a big splatter mess all over my kitchen. Your photos show the chicken frying in a Dutch oven. This looks much better. The photos are excellent, wished I had looked at them before I started cooking. There will definitely be a next time. Thanks for sharing this! Do you also have a recipe for injera bread?
Jennifer A. January 10, 2015
This looks wonderful! I have a huge package of boneless chicken thighs...ever tried it without the bones? I'd love this to be Sunday dinner.
Author Comment
Abbie C. January 11, 2015
I've never tried it with boneless thighs, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
gabsimonelouise November 17, 2014
Hey Abbie C! Just wanted to let you know this recipe is such a favorite in our household I am making it for my wedding next month. It'll be interesting to make oh, about 12X the amount of this recipe but it is the best recipe out of our favorites that lends itself to feeding a crowd! Thanks for your genius and I'll let you know how it goes! I'll probably mix all the spices in advance... :)
Author Comment
Abbie C. November 21, 2014
Wow! What a huge honor, and such a lovely compliment! Thank you! Congratulations in advance on your wedding!
Fallon E. October 23, 2014
This is by far one of my favorite dishes I have made from Food52. I like to put it over couscous or cook down some spinach in it to give it some green. I would recommend making some rice with the leftover stew (if you can manage to save some).
Author Comment
Abbie C. November 21, 2014
So great to hear such kind feedback! Thank you! Great serving suggestions!
stephanieRD April 13, 2014
Making this right now in my slow cooker! I feel like being a little lazy today and my chicken is straight from the freezer and would be hard to brown at this point. ;) Hope it turns out ok!
Author Comment
Abbie C. April 15, 2014
I've made this in my slow cooker a few times too! I usually brown the chicken and prep the onions and spices in a skillet then throw it all into the crock pot for 4 hours or more on low. I've also just chucked the chicken in frozen and it turns out fine (just add a little extra cooking time)! I hope it worked well for you :)
BellaRasa March 28, 2014
I made this last night and it was delicious. I doubled the recipe since I have a feeling that the leftovers may be even better. Thanks for the great recipe Abbie!
Author Comment
Abbie C. April 15, 2014
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
Silly A. March 9, 2014
Congratulations Abbie! Can't wait to try this!
Author Comment
Abbie C. March 10, 2014
Thank you! I hope you enjoy!
AntoniaJames March 7, 2014
We were actually a bit disappointed by this. It seemed much too sweet. That may have been due to the Pomi tomatoes, which tend to run sweet, or the sweet nature of the spices and the fact that I did not add any cayenne. The juice of two medium limes helped a bit. It's a nice spice mixture, though, which I will surely use again. (I made up a quadruple batch, as the amounts called for were so small, given that I was grinding most of them fresh.) This can best be described as an above-average chicken curry with hard boiled eggs in it. ;o)
Author Comment
Abbie C. March 7, 2014
Thank you for giving it a shot! Bummer it wasn't what you were hoping for. I have only made it with standard organic crushed tomatoes, which I find are usually more on the acidic side. The wine or the onion may also be the culprit if either was toward the sweeter side. I'm glad you liked the spice mixture :)
Selma |. March 6, 2014
Congratulations! I love that this dish has hard boiled eggs in it - takes me back to when I lived in Nairobi where I had an aunt who would always garnish her dishes with halved boiled eggs!
Author Comment
Abbie C. March 7, 2014
Thank you! It must have been a great experience to live in Nairobi!
student E. March 3, 2014
made this tonight! very tasty!
Author Comment
Abbie C. March 4, 2014
So glad you enjoyed it!
Aliwaks February 28, 2014
This looks SUPER delicious!!! I am putting this on the menu for next week,gotta know what I'm up against, ;0..Congrats!!!
Author Comment
Abbie C. February 28, 2014
Thank you and congratulations to you too! I am excited to try yours as well so I can gobble up all that stuffing...I mean check out the competition... :)
Author Comment
Abbie C. February 27, 2014
Thank you all so much for your kind words! I am beyond excited!
aargersi February 27, 2014
looks wonderful! I will for sure try it soon
savorthis February 27, 2014
Looks delicious! A friend served a dish like this with the eggs and sausage with a sweet, but more traditional tomato sauce and I loved it. Glad to see a spiced up version...might inspire me to finally make injera!
Lynn W. February 27, 2014
I'm making this! Only down-side is there will be no hard boiled egg in it- just turns me off.
Author Comment
Abbie C. February 27, 2014
My boyfriend isn't too keen on the eggs either, so you're not alone :)
Mike S. February 27, 2014
I'm going to have to try this recipe. Rather than use all of the dry spices shown in the recipe, I am going to use the Berbere seasoning that is regularly used in Ethiopian cooking and contains most, if not all, of the dry spices shown.
Cathy G. March 6, 2014
Oh I got a free sample Berbere from Pensey's. Maybe about 2 1/2 teaspoons?
Author Comment
Abbie C. March 7, 2014
That should work! I just had the individual components for Berbere handy and wanted to play with proportions. Let me know how it works!
librarianfoodie March 11, 2014
I tried it with the Penzey's Berbere this weekend and it was delicious. I used about 2.5 teaspoons and I felt it was a good level of spicy. I would definitely make it again!
Author Comment
Abbie C. March 25, 2014
I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I'm glad somebody tried it with Berbere seasoning since it's more convenient if you don't already have all the individual spices.