Addis Ababa is still surrounded by the holiday spirit and the festivity is going to continue till this Sunday, so I think it is the perfect time to talk about the Ethiopian national dish “Doro Wot”. Food plays very important role in the Fasika festivity (Ethiopian Easter Holiday) and for every other Ethiopian holiday or special occasions. The catering takes very long time and in most cases it starts a week before the actual day. At times this extensive process can be exhausting, yet it is when you deep in Injera (the national staple) into the delicious Wot and savor the exotic dish of Ethiopia with family and friends at this time of year that makes you realize “It’s all worth it”.
For today, I pick one of Ethiopian traditional dish that no holiday meal is complete without, it is of course “Doro Wot”. It is not the recipe that I want to share with you all in this particular post but the behind the scene which is as exciting as the actual dish. It is the process which I truly believe worth to celebrate, give homage; document and most importantly share it with the rest of the world. I really want to thank my mother for the sneak preview of her Ethiopian Kitchen.
When Doro Wot simply stated it is like a chicken stew but it is way more than that for Ethiopians. So let’s just get started. Well for many Ethiopians, the process starts from picking up the perfect chicken from the market.
Since many might find it strange and even it might raise the same and common question that I usually get from my foreigner friends in this kind of occasions (actually many Ethiopians do) about slaughtering and skinning, so here is a brief explanation before we proceed.
It is an esteemed tradition that passes from generation to generation and still continues even in the capital city of Africa (Addis Ababa) till this very day. It is the fact that for religious Ethiopian holidays and special occasion, the slaughtering and skinning of the animals is taking care of in many Ethiopian households by Ethiopians. It is more a sacred and spiritual process for Ethiopians with so many traditional, cultural and religious details.
Now let me take you back to the market scene. Since it is not only the chicken we get from the market for this particular holiday dish, but egg which is one of the ingredients for Doro Wot.
Now getting back to the Kitchen, Since Butter is one of the ingredients for Doro Wot and since plain butter won’t do it, seasoning it with different kinds of spices is another process that actually happens three or four days before the main Doro Wot making day.
In a cooking pan large enough to eventually hold all the ingredients (in this case 4 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, chicken legs, wings, drumsticks and fifteen hard-cooked eggs, peeled), on medium-low heat, cooking the finely chopped onion starts and this process continues almost for half an hour until the onions have turned golden brown.
Adding the Ethiopian Berbere spice, garlic and ginger.
While the spiced up onion is cooking with enough water, skinning, chopping and cleaning up the chicken takes place which is another interest process that takes some kind of patience, experience and skill.
At the same time making Injera at the other part of the Kitchen is another task and it is an extensive process all by itself. As you can imagine by now it takes more than one person to do all these so that’s when family comes in.
The other chore is boiling the eggs in another pan.
Peeling and getting it ready.
Time to add the seasoned butter
Then adding up the chicken and let it cook for an additional hour.
Almost ready… so spicing it up a little with the cardamom and black pepper and adding the hard-cooked eggs.
Finally it is time to eat
What can I say except, it is worth the process and worth waiting for. Amazingly, uniquely, Deliciously Ethiopian!