My husband Andy is a really wonderful cook. He recently made some Wat that even impressed my friends Ethiopian daughter. We have had many requests for the recipe- so without much further adieu- Wat Wat WAT!
One thing I’ve noticed that differs greatly with East African cooking over your typical american cooking is that the spices get cooked with some fat (oil or butter) before being added to other ingredients – often we start sauteing meats and/or vegetables then start adding seasoning to it as they cook. In many African dishes, I saw it called for the spices to be sautéed in either a dry pan or with some fat at the start, then meats, vegetables, stock, etc added. Since I was doing crock pot cooking and since I already had this meal started, I used a sauté pan to make a spice mix, cook it for a bit, then ladled some of the wat into the pan to introduce it. Once that mixture was fully mixed, i poured the whole batch back into the crock pot, stirred it together and left it to cook for the remaining amount of time (about 4 hours on low in this case).
So while this recipe is for the beef version we made that first time, we have since followed a similar recipe and set of instructions with different spices and Chicken Thighs and Peanuts – both were great. Definitely try experimenting with different ingredients and spices, its worth it to experiment!
One last note, you can easily scale this recipe back – we have a large crock pot, so when we pull it out, I tend to fill it to cook so we have plenty of left overs.
1.5 lbs of boneless Chuck (for stew)
1 large Yellow Onion (chopped)
2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1 large or 2 medium potatoes, peels and
3 cans of Tomato sauce
4 Gloves of Garlic smashed & chopped
3 tbsp Berbere
1/2 tbsp of whole cloves
1/2 tbsp black cumin seeds
8 or so Fennel Pods
2 tbsp of Garam Masala
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
2 tbsp Canola Oil or Peanut Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
In the Crock Pot, Add the meat, all veggies, 2 of the cans of tomato sauce and 2 cans of water. If meat is frozen, add it to the bottom of the pot, otherwise, just make sure it al fits in together.
Get it started cooking (if cooking for 4 hours, leave on high, if cooking for 6 to 8 hours, put it on low) In a saute pan, heat the Oil over medium high for 2 minutes. Add the fennel pods first and start stirring (oil isn’t sizzling you may need to bump up the heat, if oil is smoking, turn it down and let it cool slightly before adding rest of spices).
Next add the garlic, berbere, cloves, black cumin seeds, Garam Masala, and cinnamon. Keep stirring constantly. You don’t want to burn the mixture – just get it nice and toasty. After 2-3 minutes of sautéing the spice mixture should have a nice nutty smell and have darkened slightly. Add the reserved can of tomato sauce to the pan and mix throughly (depending on the size of the pan, you may not be able to add the whole can, just add enough to mix together well, then dump the rest of the can into the crock pot. taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste (remember there is no salt at all in the rest of the pot, so you’ll want to adjust the seasoning again once you have added spices).
Once you have mixed it completely, add the mixture into the crock pot and stir together thoroughly. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally (every hour or so). About an hour before serve, check the seasoning and adjust as desired. You can leave the cloves in, but as i’m stirring, I tend to pick them out so people don’t eat them – if i don’t think i got them all, i warn folks eating to keep and eye out for them and not munch down on them.
Serve with Rice or injera. Enjoy!