Monday, March 9, 2009

Ethiopian Pork We't

My version of we't (also written as wot or wat), the classic Ethiopian stew.  My Dear and I first tried this dish at Ziggurat, which was more authentic and made of chicken (doro we't).  According to this article, Ethiopians don't eat pork, so there's my first departure from tradition.  Second, this dish should be made with spiced clarified butter (niter kibbeh) and garnished with hard-boiled eggs.  What makes this pork dish we't-style, however, is the cooking method for the onions and the use of berbere spices.


1/2 kilo pork, cubed (menudo cut is best, but I used adobo cut)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil (avoid olive oil as it has a strong flavour)
approx. 1/8 cup berbere spices*, depending on taste
3 medium potatoes, cubed
3 eggplants, cubed
1 lemon
2 cups water

1.  Prior to cooking, marinate the pork in lemon juice.

2.  Cook the onions in an ungreased stew pot until their are dark brown and mostly dry, stirring often to avoid burning.  Remove the pot from the fire from time to time if the heat gets out of hand.  This process, which caramelises the onions that will form the base of the sauce, is an essential step in making we't.

3.  Pour in the cooking oil and berbere spices and mix well.  Chuck in the pork and potatoes and fry until pork changes colour.  

4.  Pour in the water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and leave to simmer.  Braise the pork for about an hour until most of the liquid has reduced.

5.  When the water has mostly evaporated put in the eggplants and continue cooking until they are done. 

For a more traditional we't: (1) use chicken or lamb instead of pork, (2) replace the oil with butter, and (3) put some whole hardboiled eggs during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking.  This should be served with some injera bread, but pita bread will do.  Since we already broke more than a few traditions, we ate our we't with steamed rice.


* You can make your own berbere spice mix with cayenne pepper (or any chilli powder), paprika, black pepper, ginger powder, and ground coriander.  The cayenne pepper and paprika should make up most of the spice mix, then add the other spices according to taste.

1 comment:

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