How to cook Ethiopian and Eritrean wat or tsebhi

Ethiopian wat or Eritrean tsebhi is a hot spice stew that can be cooked with lamb, beef, or chicken. When cooked with chicken, it is referred to as dora wat, with lamb or beef sega wat. Most common ingredients are garlic, onions, pepper, tomatoes, niter kebbeh( clarified butter treated with coriander, cummin, tumeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg) and berbere, Ethiopian red pepper. Niter kebbeh can be replace with olive oil or canola oil with coriander, cummin, tumeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg added to the recipe. Berbere, which is very hot, can be replace with cayenne pepper and paprika. Meat should be cut into small pieces 1/2 inch or 1 inch, with bone left on.

A skillet or stew pot should be used. Stove should be set at medium heat. Onions are added first and constantly stirred till brown. Oil is then added. Next other spices coriander, cummin, tumeric, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg,  pepper, garlic, and tomatoes are added, constantly turning and mixing with the spices. Next add one cup of water, then the cut meat. Cover the pot and let the meat simmer, till it is nice and tender. Right before completing, add the boil eggs.

A sample dora wat recipe is as follow:
  • 3 cups bermuda onions
  • 3 oz. butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1 to  3-lb. of chicken
  • 3 cups of water and 1/4 cup lemon juice to soak chicken for ten minutes
  • 8 peeled hard-boiled egg
One can make a sega wat with the same recipe but it will require 2 Ibs. of lamb (from leg) and 1 cup of chopped onions. The lamb should be chopped into 1/2 inched cubes. No water would be added and the lamb would have to be sauteed  till it is dry and tender.

Wat is usually eaten with injera flat spongy bread, made from the teff grain. One usually cut a small strip of injera and scoop the stew.

Video Link:


How to make Ethiopian Kay Wat , by Chef Dato, on Youtube.

Videojug, How To Make Doro Wat (Ethiopian Spicy Chicken Soup)


Works Cited

The Africa Cookbook. Ethiopia, Dora Wat and Sega Wat

Tags: eritrea ethiopia cuisine