Ethiopian Chicken (Kebede Doro Watt)

Sefanit Sirak introduces us to this mildly spiced Ethiopian dish full of both the chicken and the egg!
Ethiopian Chicken (Kebede Doro Watt)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-5
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus soaking
  • Effort: medium


For the clarified butter

  • 500 g butter
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger

For the chicken

  • 1 kg red onions, finely chopped
  • 2-3 ladlefuls clarified butter, (see recipe)
  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp berbere (ethiopian spice powder)
  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 large boiling chicken
  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 12 eggs

Tips and Suggestions

Enjera (teff grain bread) can be bought at


1. For the clarified butter: melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the red onion, coriander, ginger and garlic and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with a piece of muslin (or a sterilised J-cloth) into a bowl and set aside. Reserve the (strained) clarified butter and discard the residue left in the sieve.

2. For the chicken: put the onions in a large pan with about 1 large ladleful of clarified butter and a dash of water, to prevent the onions from sticking and burning. Cook them gently, stirring occasionally, until they go a deep brown colour. This can take up to an hour - it's best to cook them with the lid on until they're really soft then take off the lid and continue cooking until they brown.

3. Once the onions are brown, stir in the berbere, garlic and ginger. Cook gently for a further hour, stirring occasionally, until you have a creamy paste, adding drizzles of water along the way. Stir in another 2 ladlefuls of clarified butter and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, cut the chicken into 12 pieces (discard the parson's nose as Ethiopians consider it unclean). Wash, then re-wash the chicken pieces in water, then put them in a large bowl of water to which you have added the lemon juice. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then drain.

5. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce in the pan, along with the coriander and a couple of ladlefuls of water. Season with salt. Stir thoroughly, then bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

6. Meanwhile, bring a separate pan of water to the boil, then gently lower the eggs into the simmering water using a slotted spoon. Simmer the eggs for 10-15 minutes to ensure that they are very hard-boiled. Drain the eggs and cover with cold water to cool them slightly, then drain again.

7. Peel the eggs and score around each one several times using a sharp knife, so that when the eggs are added to the chicken mixture they will soak up some of the sauce but will remain whole. Add the eggs to the cooked chicken mixture and stir gently to coat the eggs with the sauce. Serve with homemade cottage cheese and Enjera (see Cook's note).

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