Bithia's Doro Wat


With roots in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Bithia Fikru Anderson grew up using handkerchief-soft injera to mop up doro wot, a rich, saucy bone-in chicken stew redolent of warm spices, ginger, and garlic. "My aunties knew how to make it just right," Bithia says. "It was a staple, not just for special occasions and holidays but also on down-and-out days, always served with a side of ayib, our homemade Ethiopian cheese."

Bithia's Doro Wat
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
6 servings


  • 1 ¾ pounds chicken thighs, skin removed

  • 1 ¾ pounds chicken drumsticks, skin removed

  • ¼ cup grated fresh ginger

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 4 tablespoons niter kibbeh (spiced clarified butter), divided

  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion

  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons berbere (Ethiopian spice blend)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems

  • 6 pieces injera (Ethiopian bread)


  1. Pierce chicken thighs and drumsticks in a few spots with a knife; rub with ginger and garlic to coat.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons niter kibbeh in a deep, 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer and sear until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

  3. Add remaining 2 tablespoons niter kibbeh to the skillet. Add onion; stir-fry over medium-high heat until softened and light brown around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour in tomato sauce and sprinkle in berbere, salt, paprika, cayenne, cardamom, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until a thin layer of oil separates from the sauce, forming a spice-colored film on its surface, about 20 minutes.

  4. Return chicken and any pooled juices to the skillet; coat with sauce. Cook, covered and turning pieces occasionally, until the thickest parts are no longer pink when pierced and meat begins to fall off the bone, 35 to 40 minutes.

  5. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with injera.

Cook's Notes:

Chicken thighs and drumsticks are easy to find at the meat counter, but often they still have their skin on. Ask the butcher to remove it for you, or simply grab a piece and, using paper towels for an easier grip, pull the skin away from the meat.

Berbere is the essential spice blend in Ethiopia. Versions are as varied as the kitchens they come from, but spicy chile peppers and a medley of aromatic spices from India and Indonesia are key to berbere's complex layers. You can find ready-made blends in the spice aisle of large supermarkets and any grocery that serves Ethiopian food-lovers. Or try Bithia's DIY version: Combine 2 tablespoons paprika; 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper; 1 teaspoon ground coriander; 1/2 teaspoon each ground ginger, cardamom, and fenugreek; 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and allspice; and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Makes 1/4 cup.

Niter kibbeh is a spiced clarified butter that provides the "je ne sais quoi" in many Ethiopian dishes. If you don't have it, you can substitute vegetable oil. But it's easy to make! Steep whole spices—such as 1 cinnamon stick, 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, 3 whole cloves, and 5 whole peppercorns—in 1 cup of melted clarified butter (ghee) about 10 minutes over low heat. Strain out and discard the spices; store butter chilled in an airtight container.

Editor's Note:

This is part of a special feature in our February-March 2022 magazine issue. See the magazine for more recipes!

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

605 Calories
20g Fat
47g Carbs
61g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 605
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 234mg 78%
Sodium 1333mg 58%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 61g
Potassium 974mg 21%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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