Saturday, November 03, 2012


This silly anecdote will come as a surprise to know one who knows me, but here it is. I was watching the Halloween episode of Minday Kaling's new sitcom, and she made the following joke: "This Ethiopian lady in my building is handing out doro wat. It's like this chicken stew with eggs in it. Kids love it." So naturally, I had to Google doro wat....and then make some for myself, along with a reasonable fascimile of injera, the Ethiopian flatbread that one uses to mop up the spicy, saucy goodness.

The main problem with making Ethiopian cuisine at home is not having access to authentic ingredients--namely, the berbere spice mixture for the doro wat and the grain, teff, for the injera. So I had to fashion a faux berbere using nearly every spice in the cupboard, and then I converted the recipe to made in the crock pot, as is my way. Also, the injera batter is described as fermented and slightly sour-tasting, so I used some whole-wheat flour and a half cup of sourdough starter. That worked fairly well, and the resulting dinner was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself! Thanks for the inspiration, Mindy Kaling!

Crock Pot Doro Wat (Ethiopian Chicken and Pepper Paste Stew)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 lbs. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 cloves garlic, peeled
6 oz. can tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cardamom
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon fenugreek (I swapped out cumin)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup red wine

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and then brown the chicken on both sides. When browned, take the chicken out of the skillet, remove the skin, and place the pieces in the crock pot. Then, in the bowl of a food processor, add the onions, ginger, and garlic, and process to almost a paste. Drain most of the oil from the skillet, leaving about two tablespoons. Melt the butter in the pan, add the onion-ginger-garlic mixture, and cook for a few minutes until translucent and tender. Stir in the tomato paste and ALL of the spices, except the salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomato mixture just starts to color. Whisk in the chicken stock, red wine, lemon juice. When thoroughly combined, pour this sauce over the chicken in the crock pot, cover, and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8, until the meat is almost falling off the bone. Serve with one hard-cooked egg in each helping, and injera (flatbread) or rice on the side.

GREAT TIP FOR LEFTOVERS: When the doro wat has cooled, remove the bones and gristle and any bits of skin from the chicken and discard. Shred the chicken back into the sauce and refrigerate. The next day, peel and dice one large sweet potato and add to the crock pot with a quart of vegetable (or chicken) stock, along with a teaspoon of dried thyme. Cook for about two hours on high or four hours on low until the sweet potato pieces are tender. Stir in the leftover doro wat, plus one or two cans of drained chickpeas. Cook another hour or two until heated through. This makes a TERRIFIC soup, maybe even better than the doro wat in its original form!

Faux Injera (Ethiopian Flatbread)
(Source: adapted from Whats4Eats)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 cup sourdough starter
2 to 2 1/2 cups club soda (or water) 

1. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over a medium flame. Mix the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the club soda and mix to a smooth batter. It should have the thin consistency of a pancake batter.
2. Wipe the skillet with a little oil using a paper towel. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the batter into the skillet and spread it with a spatula to make a large crepe. Let bake in the skillet until all the bubbles on top burst and begin to dry out, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Carefully turn the injera over and cook on second side another minute or two. Try not to brown it too much.
4. Remove the injera to a warm platter and repeat with the rest of the batter, wiping the skillet clean with an oiled paper towel each time.
5. Serve immediately or hold covered in a warm oven.

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