Shiro wat: a traditional Ethiopian dish

When I moved to Ethiopia, I asked people in my village what their favourite food was, but the only answer I ever got was shiro wat. It was our staple food, eaten every day, for multiple meals per day. Chock full of protein, it’s filling, delicious, and healthy (yes, shiro is both gluten-free and vegan). If I had to eat only one meal for the rest of my life — honestly, this would be it.

Shiro wat is an Ethiopian stew, made from chicken and/or bean flour. Shiro refers to the beans, and wat means stew. It’s eaten with injera, Ethiopia’s famous fermented flatbread, and can be found in almost every restaurant across the entire country. Whether you’re visiting an Ethiopian restaurant abroad, or wanting to try the local cuisine in Ethiopia, shiro wat is an absolute must-eat.

If you’re trying to cook this recipe for yourself abroad, you’ll likely need to special order the shiro powder and the berbere spice. I’ve seen stores abroad selling “berbere” spice, but unless it’s a specifically Ethiopian grocery store, it’s just not the same. The effort to get actual shiro and berbere is so worth it. If you aren’t sure where to get it, try asking your local Ethiopian restaurant for advice.

Once you’ve got your ingredients, here’s how to put the dish together!

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