The Thirteen (Spices)

6 portions

Ethiopian Doro Wat presented by Ethiopia at Home.

In Lys they believe that the Weeping Lady tasked 13 maidens to collect 13 different spices and under a weeping willow the secret of the recipe was revealed. The Qartheen on the other hand believe the revealing part was done by a run-away kitchen slave.


1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1/4 red onion, chopped

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tablespoon cardamon pods, crushed with the side of a knife

3/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 onions, halved and thinly sliced

4 tablespoons Spicy Butter, divided

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mild chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 whole cloves

2 cups chicken stock or broth

1/2 cup dry red wine

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime

1 chopped fresh basil

Hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise

Chopped tomatoes

Lime wedges

Flatbread or whole-what tortillas


Melt the butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Skim foam that rises to the top. When most of it subsides, add the remaining ingredients. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. (Can be made one week ahead and stored in the refrigerator).

Heat a Dutch oven (or a heavy saucepan with a lid) on medium-high heat and add the onions. Let cook undisturbed until they turn dark brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the Spicy Butter and a teaspoon of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very tender, 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons Spicy Butter (reserve the rest for another use), ginger, and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Stir in the chili powder, cardamom, black pepper, and cloves. Cook for 5 minutes.

Pour in the stock and wine, bring liquid to a simmer and let mixture cook for 10 minutes or so, until the liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is just done but still tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir in lime juice and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Garnish with basil. Serve with eggs, tomatoes, lime wedges, and bread for sopping up the sauce.

Based on this recipe