Dinner Plate Travails

Our culinary adventures!

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Doro Wot

I used this recipe as a guide: http://www.ethiopianspices.com/html/recipes.asp

This is relatively easy to make if you have some Berbere spice paste. I didn’t really bother with the “finishing” spices (I just added ground [green] cardamon and some more Berbere paste [about 1.5 t] 10-15 mins before I served it).

It ended up tasting quite similar to the Doro Wot that our regular Ethiopian restaurant serves.


Cook the onions until they are a bit brown, then add the garlic and ginger. The onions, garlic, and ginger should not burn. Either chop the onions (especially), garlic, and ginger finely before adding. or mash with your cooking utensil when it is soft.

The idea  is to simmer the chicken in the onion and spice mash until the chicken is soft, then liven up the mix before serving with some fragrant spices.

** Mai’s review **

This is the first African meal Jeff has ever made, and it was very very good! We have two excellent Ethiopian restaurants in our neighbourhood where we go to eat regularly. We’ve also eaten at Ethiopian restaurants on Bloor Street in Toronto and in Manhattan (near Washington Park). I think this makes us somewhat experienced in the flavours of good Ethiopian food. We just love it!

Jeff also made collard greens and beet salad to accompany the doro wat. Each one added flavours that complimented and balanced out the others. The sweet and tarty beets cleansed the palate following forkfuls of the intense savoury spiciness of doro wat. He cooked it to the right level–not too over-cooked where the crunchy and fresh taste is cooked out, and not undercooked where you still get the earthy taste (though I kinda like that). The collard greens contributed a refreshing blend of fragrant spices to the meal and had a creaminess to it, without feeling fatty. He used a LOT of butter!

Jeff’s venture into Africa was set back only by my failure to source out good injera bread on my way home from work…  I did spend the next 3 days trying to clear the house of the lingering smells of roasted, oily spices. The upside is that we now have a small batch of berbere paste to use for next time! Next time, Jeff is going outside to make his spice paste… 😛


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Berbere Spice Paste

Many of the recipes online seemed far too westernized. I’m going to check this against the Ethiopian cookbook we have (somewhere in the house–who knows where) before I make it again.

I am nearly certain this is responsible for oily, curry-like smell that is still detectable in our house 3 days after I made an Ethiopian dinner (part of it may have come from the Doro Wot I made right after). Wow! When you cook these spices–be careful–keep windows open and your stove fan running at full blast (oh, and use the back burner)!

Here is my adaptation.. Makes slightly more than 1/2 cup:

16 cardamom pods
1 T cumin seed
1 t black peppercorns
1 t fenugreek seeds
1.5 t allspice berries
6 whole cloves

3 T peanut oil
4 minced shallots
2 minced garlic cloves
2 T grated fresh ginger
2 fresh red chilies

1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons paprika (hot and or sweet–preferably hot)
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 teaspoon turmeric

  1. Toast all the whole spices in a dry pan over medium heat until they are fragrant. This will produce a very strong smell.
  2. In the same pan, heat the oil and sweat the shallots, garlic, and chilies over medium heat. Do not let them color. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. Grind the toasted whole spices and the red pepper flakes in a spice grinder, then mix them with the powdered spices.
  4. In a mortar and pestle, pound the shallots, garlic, and peppers until soft and blended.
  5. Add the ground spice mix to the wet mixture and pound in batches.
  6. Heat back up the pan and lightly fry the mixture.
  7. Put into a container to store.

This recipe was helpful: http://honest-food.net/wild-game/sauces-for-wild-game/ethiopian-berbere-paste/