Shiro wat

Traditionally Ethiopians abstain from meat and fish during the 8 weeks of lent. This has produced a rich variety of wats (stew) using the berberé (traditional spicy paste) combined with nuts. So this recipe comes in to steps first the combining of the berberé then the cooking of the stew.

This recipe serves 4 .
For the berberé :

  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed.
  • 1 Scallion (or spring onion), only the white part.
  • 1 tablespoon Red wine vinegar.
  • 120ml/ 1/2 cup Water.
  • 2 tablespoon Chili powder.
  • 2 teaspoon Rock sea salt.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Black pepper.
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fresh, grated Ginger.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Coriander.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Fenugreek seeds.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg.
  • Seeds of a pod of Cardamon, crushed.

For the Wat :

  • 225g Raw Peanuts.
  • 1 Onion, finely sliced.
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée.
  • 1 Egg, beaten.
  • 600 ml/ 2 1/2 cups Water.
  • Olive oil.
  • 2 Cloves, crushed.
  • Pinch Cinnamon.
  • Pinch Allspice.
  • Salt.

First combine the garlic, spring onion, vinegar and water in a blender until smooth. Set aside. Put all the rest of the ingredients for the berberé into a dry heavy pan on medium heat to toast gently for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring all the time. Then add the blend of garlic and scallion to the spices and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. It should get to the consistency of a thick paste (like tomato purée for example). This make enough paste for up to two stews, the left over can be kept for a month in the fridge.

In a heavy pan heat up a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté half of the berberé paste previously done, keep aside. Grind the peanuts into a smooth paste in the blender. Now, in a separate stewing pot, sweat of the onion with a spoon of olive oil, stir in the tomato paste and the sautéed paste. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes while stirring well. Then, spoon in the beaten egg and gradually add the ground peanuts. When it is done pour in the water, a little at the time, stirring constantly to produce an even mixture.

Bring, gently, to the boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve warm with rice.

"The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star"

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Vegetarian/ Gluten free/ Dairy free.
Contains Nuts.