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The Recipe Thread

Denny Crane

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Re: The Recipe Thread
« Reply #40 on: August 19, 2007, 08:02:45 AM »
Denny, have you lived in East Africa?

I spent summer of '06 there (9 weeks). 

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Re: The Recipe Thread
« Reply #41 on: August 19, 2007, 05:11:22 PM »
I'll post the recipe here just in case anyone else would like to give it a go.  I like to think that it's more authentic and delicious than the junk served at restaurants.

Doro Wat

Doro wet is the gold standard of Ethiopian cooking: it is served at weddings; like it or not, husbands pick wives by the quality of their doro wat. The doro wat that you cook for yourself will be in a different league altogether from that served at restaurants which is why Ethiopians will never eat it in a restaurant.

There are a gazillion ways to cook it and pretty much everyone experiments with it until they find that exact combination of spices, cooking times, alcohols, etc that makes it their own thing.  I always cook doro wet for 8, eat one serving [sad, ain't it?], and refrigerate the rest. But you could just as easily cook for 4 and halve the ingredients.

It tastes better after a day or two, and keeps well for a week to ten days. When you reheat it, do it on the stove and in a pan: the butter in the sauce will have risen to the top and solidified; make sure that you include some of that butter in the portion to be reheated.

The onions are the body of the sauce: they give it its texture and consistency, and work to absorb the berbere as well.  They stink up the place as they cook for the first 10 minutes so don't lean over the pot and into the steam as you're stirring or your hair will smell of onions for days.  And make sure that you've closed bedroom and closet doors, turned on the stove/kitchen fan or opened windows.

How spicy hot it is will depend on how much berbere you use.  The acceptable range is 1 to 2 cups. Below a cup, it won't taste right; above 2 cups, you'll be sweating it up some.

Using brandy, cognac or wine is optional. but transforms a great dish into something really sublime.

To serve 8

* 6 lb of chicken breasts
* 4 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
* 4 teaspoons salt
* 10 finely chopped red onions
* 1/2 cup niter kebbeh [spicy butter]
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
* 2 teaspoons finely chopped, scraped fresh ginger root
* 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds [= "abesh" in Amharic], pulverized in a small bowl with the back of a spoon  = OPTIONAL
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, fresh grated  [nutmeg = "gabz" in Amharic]
* 1 1/2 cups berberé
* 1/2 cup red wine or, much better, 1 TB cognac or brandy]
* 1 1/4 cups water
* 8 hard-boiled eggs minus their shells
* Freshly ground black pepper for taste

1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and rub the pieces with lemon juice and salt. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. This tenderizes the chicken pieces so that they'll cook faster/better in the sauce.

2. Make sure that you have the kitchen fan on and that the doors to closets and bedrooms have been shut. Then, in an ungreased, reasonably heavy 3 or 4 quart pot, cook the onions over moderate heat for 10 or 12 minutes, until they are soft and dry. [Just the onions, no oil or anything else]. Shake the pan and stir the onions constantly to prevent them from burning; if you need to, reduce the heat or lift the pan occasionally from the stove to let it cool for a few moments before returning it to the heat. If the onions stick to the bottom or sides at any point, it means that the heat's on a touch too high.  If they do stick, add up to a tablespoon of water and unstick them using a wooden spoon.  Don't let them burn.

3. Stir in the niter kebbeh and, when it begins to sputter, add the garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom and nutmeg, stirring well after each addition. Add the berberé, and stir over low heat for two or three minutes. Then pour in the wine/cognac and water and, still stirring, bring to a boil over high heat. Cook briskly, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid in the pan has reduced to the consistency of heavy cream.

4. Pat the chicken dry and drop it into the simmering sauce, turning the pieces with a spoon until they are coated on all sides. Reduce the heat to the lowest point. cover tightly and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. The sauce should have started to turn a deep, rich red by now, and the aroma should be telling you that you're almost there.

7. With the tines of a fork, pierce 1/4-inch-deep holes over the entire surface of each egg. Then add the eggs and turn them gently about in the sauce. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the meat shows little resistance when pierced with the point of a small knife. Sprinkle with pepper and taste for seasoning.

8. Serve as you wish.  Injera is overrated and hard to keep fresh -- it comes in packages of 10 and gets stale after a day. I much prefer to eat doro wat with fresh baguettes.  Some people eat it on white rice, which is fine too.  I like a salad as an accompaniment.

It damned easy to make, it's delicious, and the only downside is that it smells up the joint in the first 15 minutes or so of cooking.

ok when are you making it? 


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Re: The Recipe Thread
« Reply #42 on: August 19, 2007, 05:21:37 PM »
Denny, have you lived in East Africa?

I spent summer of '06 there (9 weeks). 

I thought so.  I was in Kenya the summer of '00 myself.  Anywho, thanks for passing along the recipe.  I'll have to try that one!
Harvard Law: What, like it's hard?

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Re: The Recipe Thread
« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2007, 10:34:40 AM »