Ethiopian-Inspired Spicy Chicken Stew

April 11, 2021
13 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
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: C

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • eatchimac
  • Stephanie Silverman
    Stephanie Silverman
  • Richard
  • Windischgirl
  • Jennifer Alexander
    Jennifer Alexander

57 Reviews

Chef_Rocco April 1, 2023
Truly delicious! I used Muir Glenn Fire Roasted Tomatoes for additional flavor. I thought the quantities might be sparse so I made 1.5X the tomato, onion, & spices, a cut up 3.5 lb chicken + 2 drumsticks. 4 adults polished this off.
Chef_Rocco April 1, 2023
PS - my wife isn't a big fan of injera so we substituted Trader Joe's frozen garlic Naan.
Stephanie May 12, 2022
I have spent time in Ethiopia and enjoy Ethiopian cuisine in the U.S. Doro wat is my favorite dish. This is not going to fool anyone who loves Doro wat into thinking that it's Doro wat. But it is decidedly reminiscent of Doro wat, and it is easy and tasty and lovely. You should make it.
DD L. May 12, 2022
I did make it!
Loved it and plan on making it again but with some little extra coriander (I love coriander) and I'll add some fresh chilies next time because I like a little more heat. If only I could get my hands on some injera :)
DD L. May 4, 2022
I love Ethiopian food, but I've only had it at restaurants. This is the 1st dish I've tried to make at home and it is absolutely delicious!!! Tender, juicy and just enough heat.
I didn't have any wine so I added a tbsp or so of good balsamic vinegar instead but other than that I followed the recipe exactly, including the hard boiled eggs, and I had couldn't stop tasting it as it simmered because it was just so good hahaha
The only thing stopping it from being utter perfection was my not having any injera bread (I love that stuff) so I served it with rice and lentils ... good but not perfection :)
eatchimac March 30, 2021
Oh, I didn’t try Ethiopian-Inspired Spicy Chicken Stew Recipe. Now I can make it at home. So glad for sharing this recipe Now I can make it at home. It looks delicious. Now I can share your blog with my friend circle. I am so glad after seeing your recipe, Thanks for sharing this recipe. Food is one of the biggest topics of conversation online and offline. Keep it up, I am waiting for your next recipe!
Jbenson December 8, 2020
Loved this recipe. Please send instructions for converting to making in Instant pot for those days when I don’t want to monitor it. Thanks
Jbenson December 8, 2020
Loved this recipe. Lease send instructions for converting to making in Instantpot for those days when I don’t want to monitor it. Thanks
Stephanie S. August 20, 2020
This is a total family favorite. Delicious. A serious recommend.
sean April 9, 2020
Hello. Can I make without the eggs? Would it change it too much? Thanks
BellaRasa April 9, 2020
I made it without eggs and it was delicious!
ReggieDoobar February 29, 2020
I made this last week, but didn't have any of the ingredients except chicken and fenugreek. So, of course, "hey google what's a substitute for cardamom, hey google what's a substitute for coriander, etc". Tedious, but Google knows all, right mate? Hours later, I had to ask Siri for a substitute for something that wasn't even in the recipe (long story). I can tell you this - celery seed is NOT a substitute for cinnamon! WTF, Alexa? Stop arguing, smart ass speakers! Lets wrap this up - I have been suspended from my book club, and my neighbor has lodged a complaint alleging "respiratory distress" suffered by her - oh so superior - cat, Mr Boots.
Delaine January 26, 2020
A definite repeat dish in our house. Loved the depth of the flavors and the amount of spice was perfect.
humanbean January 24, 2019
Made this with a bone-in pork butt/shoulder in a pressure cooker (1 hour cooktime).

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.
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... :)
Abbie C. November 21, 2014
Wow! What a huge honor, and such a lovely compliment! Thank you! Congratulations in advance on your wedding!
Chocowagon 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).
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!
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!
Abbie C. April 15, 2014
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!