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Spicy Chicken Stew a Tradition for Ethiopian New Year

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Doro we’et, a spicy chicken stew, is traditionally served for Ethiopian New Year, which this year was celebrated on Sept. 11.

By Hanna Raskin (The Post & Courier) |

For home cooks accustomed to Western recipes, the most striking thing about the stew sometimes described as Ethiopia’s national dish is the order in which onions and fat are added. For doro we’et (also spelled as wat, wet or wot), the onions are cooked in an ungreased pan.

The resulting spicy chicken stew is traditionally served for Ethiopian New Year, which this year was celebrated on Sept. 11 (Sept. 12 on Leap Year). “Many households (also) prepare other meat-based dishes, such as kikel, a soupy dish made by boiling lamb chops,” Kitchen Cabinet member Mulugeta Gebregziabher says.

And no matter what else is on the table, there’s always injera, the sour flatbread made from teff flour. Unfortunately, injera isn’t available locally on a regular basis. The same is true of koseret, a plant related to verbena: The spice is an optional addition to nitter kibbeh, a seasoned clarified butter that goes into doro we’et and can be stirred into bulgur or grits.