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Yedoro tibs: Ethiopian boneless chicken stew

Ethiopian cuisine offers such a wide range of vegetable dishes that it’s easy to go meatless. However, yedoro tibs (a.k.a., doro tibs) is one of the few meat dishes I really enjoy. The boneless chicken is in an easy munchable size, and the rich sauce has such depth!

yedoro tibs on injeraYedoro tibs on (yep, store-bought) injera.

Yedoro tibs might be a bit time-consuming to prepare, but the process is actually rather straightforward. Other than chopping, sautéing and simmering, the trickiest aspect us finding two key ingredients: the berbere spice mix and nitr qibe (nitter kibbeh), the spiced clarified butter. I recently discovered an Ethiopian grocery within reasonable driving distance (Abadir Grocery in Santa Clara, for the curious), so I was glad to have a chance to make this at home.

Berbere makes me think it’s an Ethiopian equivalent to India’s garam masala, but also containing LOTS of chilis. For nitr qibe, a bunch of herbs and spices are steeped in the butter for a long time while it clarifies. You could use ghee, or just oil, but the dish would lack complexity.

There’s a bone-in Ethiopian chicken stew, yedoro wat, which adds hardboiled eggs — something I’d like to try in a future version of this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons nitr qibe
  • 1/4 to 1/3 c white wine (something dryish and fruity, but not too acid) plus 2 teaspoons honey; but if you’re able to find Ethiopian tej, or even mead, use that instead of the white wine + honey combination.
  • 1 tablespoon berbere powder; this yields a mild, yet warmingly tingly dish, but feel free to adjust the amount to taste.
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 whole black cardamom pod
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground (green) cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup water
  • salt, to taste

Method

  1. Slice the chicken breasts into small, bite-sized pieces; set aside.
  2. In a large pot, sauté the onion in the nitr qibe until browned. This could take 20 to 30 minutes, but the onions really need to become caramelized for this dish.
  3. Stir in the wine and honey, followed by all of the spices, chicken, and water.
  4. Stir in salt, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until the chicken becomes tender. If the sauce seems too thin, thicken it by leaving the lid ajar during the last 10 or so minutes.
  5. Serve with basmati rice, injera, or other flatbreads.

2 comments

  1. Amelia wrote:

    Are you supposed to use 1Tbs berbere seasoning, in addition to the spices listed below that, or does the list of spices comprise the 1Tbs of berbere?

    Thanks!

    Thursday, 10 October 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink
  2. sairuh wrote:

    Hi Amelia,

    Yes, the berbere is in addition to the other spices. It might sound like a lot to add, but the flavors smoothen out during cooking. Thanks for asking!

    Thursday, 10 October 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

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