Wat (food)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alternative namesTsebhi
Place of originEthiopia and Eritrea
Region or stateEast Africa
Main ingredientsMeat (chicken, beef, or lamb), vegetables, niter kibbeh, spices

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


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, 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, (Amharic: ሥጋ śigā) made with beef.

Doro wat (wett)[edit]

Doro wat (Amharic: ዶሮ ወጥ dōrō we̠t’, Tigrinya: ጸብሒ ደርሆ Tsebhi derhō ), is a spicy stew made of chicken. The cooking often (but not always) includes the addition of peeled but undivided hard-boiled egg. It is the most popular traditional food in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Considered the national dish, it is the food of choice during formal and informal gatherings, eaten together as part of a group who share a communal bowl and basket of injera.[1]

Misir wat[edit]

Misir wat is a lentil stew; its key ingredients include split red lentils, garlic, onions, and spices. It is a popular vegan dish, and in high demand during fasting periods for Orthodox Christians.[2][3]

Sanbat wat[edit]

A Jewish version of doro wat is eaten by the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) called "sanbat wat" (Sabbath wat). Sanbat wat is a traditional Shabbat dish. In order to avoid mixing of meat and dairy, vegetable oil can be used as a pareve substitute in lieu of ghee. Yeqimem zeyet, a form of niter kibbeh made from vegetable oil, can also be used.[4]

A formal serving of various pieces of wat atop an injera (photo Brussels)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Levine, Donald N. Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture (Chicago: University Press, 1972), p. 132.
  2. ^ Albala, Ken (Aug 30, 2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313376269. Retrieved Aug 30, 2021 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "An Ethiopian misir wot recipe with red lentils and vibrant, spicy flavor". The Washington Post. 2021-04-21. Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  4. ^ "Sanbat Wat (Ethiopian Shabbat Stew)". ReformJudaism.org. Retrieved 2019-10-13.