Wat (food)

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Ethiopian wat.jpg
Alternative names Tsebhe
Type Stew or curry
Place of origin Ethiopia and Eritrea
Main ingredients Meat (chicken, beef, or lamb), vegetables, niter kibbeh, spices
Cookbook: Wat  Media: Wat

Wat, we̠t’, wot (Amharic: ወጥ?, IPA: [wətʼ]) or tsebhi (Tigrinya: ጸብሒ?, IPA: [sʼɐbħi]) is an Ethiopian and Eritrean stew or curry that may be prepared with chicken, beef, lamb, a variety of vegetables, spice mixtures such as berbere, and niter kibbeh, a seasoned clarified butter.


Typical serving of wat

Several properties distinguish wats from stews of other cultures. Perhaps the most obvious is an unusual cooking technique: the preparation of a wat begins with chopped onions slow cooked, without any fat or oil, in a dry skillet or pot until much of their moisture has been driven away. Fat (usually niter kibbeh) is then added, often in quantities that might seem excessive by modern Western standards, and the onions and other aromatics are sautéed before the addition of other ingredients. This method causes the onions to break down and thicken the stew.

Wat is traditionally eaten with injera, a spongy flat bread made from the millet-like grain known as teff. There are many types of wats. The popular ones are doro wat and siga wat, (Ge'ez: ሥጋ śigā) made with beef.

Doro wat[edit]

Doro wat is one such stew, made from chicken and sometimes hard-boiled eggs; the ethnologist Donald Levine records that doro wat (Amharic: ዶሮ ወጥ? dōrō we̠t’, Tigrinya: ደርሆ ጸብሒ? derhō tsebhi) is the most popular traditional food in Ethiopia, often eaten as part of a group who share a communal bowl and basket of injera.[1]

Doro wat is a popular dish in Ethiopian restaurants in the United States, of which there are hundreds.[2] It has been depicted in US-American popular culture, such as the TV series The Mindy Project (season 1, episode 4) and the motion picture Along Came Polly.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Levine, Donald N. Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture (Chicago: University Press, 1972), p. 132.
  2. ^ See http://www.ethiopianrestaurant.com/Ethiopian_Restaurants_in_America.pdf Archived September 27, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.