Ethiopia

At the end of a tough year, I was fortunately presented with the opportunity of travelling to Addis Ababa. It’s been a life-long wish to visit Ethiopia, and so of course I went. When I got there, everybody I met was warm, open and eager to share with me, their favourite meals. And so after this short trip, I can only describe my experience of Ethiopia like one of its most famous exports, berbere; intriguingly layered, wonderfully detailed and truly exceptional.

I had the pleasure of trying several popular dishes, like shiro, kitfo, doro wot, fir fir and a few others. There is certainly so much more to taste and learn about; I hope to be lucky enough to be able to return again for those.

This richly-seasoned dish is one of the most popular recipes, and with good reason. The complexity and depth of flavour in the niter kibbeh and berbere alone, should tell you a lot about what to expect from Ethiopia’s answer to “chicken stew.” Because you have to start preparing the dish by first killing, then systematically cleaning, cutting and marinading a whole chicken, doro wot was primarily served during big celebratory occasions like Christmas. However, due to the growing restaurant culture and demand for the dish, you can eat doro wot anywhere and anytime (in Addis at least).

It goes without saying that everybody has a variation of how to prepare doro wot. Even at ingredient level, opinions of how much of what spice should be included in the berbere, or the kibbeh can affect the quantity of each in your doro wot recipe. This is Chef Million’s take on it, and I can guarantee that it was absolutely delicious.

This dish is certainly more than meets the eye. That finely-ground powder, or flour you see comprises chickpea and fava bean flour, berbere, garlic and onion powder, and a few other components which vary from household to household.