Doro Alicha (Chicken with Onions & Spiced Butter Sauce)


This milder version of the classic Ethiopian chicken stew, doro wot, trades hot berbere spice for a mild turmeric sauce heady with ginger and garlic. Serve with injera for mopping up the sides of the bowl.

Prep Time:
1 hr
Additional Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 45 mins
4 servings


  • 4 bone-in chicken leg quarters (2 1/2-3 pounds), skin removed, trimmed

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 3 cups minced yellow onions

  • 3-5 cups warm water, divided

  • ¼ cup niter kibbe (see Tips) or clarified butter

  • cup minced fresh ginger

  • 2 ½ tablespoons minced fresh garlic

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon makulaya alicha spice blend (see Tips) or equal parts dried basil and thyme

  • 1 teaspoon matafecha (see Tips) or equal parts ground white pepper, cardamom and cinnamon

  • 1 cup tej (Ethiopian honey wine), mead or dry white wine

  • 2 large eggs


  1. Place chicken in a large shallow nonreactive dish and rub with lemon juice and salt. Set aside, turning the chicken occasionally.

  2. Place onions in a large heavy pot over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and continue cooking, stirring often and adding more water by the 1/4 cup as needed to prevent browning, until very soft and translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Add niter kibbe (or clarified butter) and ginger; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes more. Increase heat to medium and stir in garlic, turmeric, makulaya (or basil and thyme) and matafecha (or white pepper, cardamom and cinnamon); cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add tej (or mead or wine) and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

  3. Nestle the chicken (and any accumulated liquid from the dish) into the onion sauce. Pour in enough water to almost cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, turning the chicken occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part without touching bone registers at least 165 degrees F, 15 to 25 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, hard-boil eggs: Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook at the barest simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and cover the eggs with ice-cold water; let stand until completely cooled. Peel.

  5. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl; cover to keep warm. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat; cook until reduced by about half, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Add the eggs to the sauce and simmer, gently turning once or twice, for 4 minutes. Cut the eggs in half and serve with the chicken and sauce in shallow bowls.


To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Tips: Niter kibbe is clarified butter seasoned with cardamom and a sage-like herb called kosseret.

Makulaya alicha spice blend is made with turmeric, garlic, ginger and white cumin.

Matafecha seasons many Ethiopian red sauces and includes cinnamon, cloves, long pepper and cardamom.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

483 Calories
27g Fat
20g Carbs
36g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 1 chicken leg, 1/2 egg & 1/2 cup sauce
Calories 483
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 36g 72%
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 12g 61%
Cholesterol 278mg 93%
Vitamin A 597IU 12%
Vitamin C 13mg 15%
Folate 42mcg 10%
Sodium 454mg 20%
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 3mg 17%
Magnesium 56mg 13%
Potassium 634mg 13%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

Related Articles