Doro Wat Reflections

All I wanted was chicken, specifically doro wat, our traditional Ethiopian chicken stew dish served mostly on the holidays, for this Ethiopian New Year. This time though I found myself asking more and more about the process of how it was made and so I decided to give myself a challenge. Why not figure out how to make this dish that I have enjoyed my entire life and see what’s the whole hoopla about it? Well, as you can imagine I was in for a surprise when faced with the reality of making doro wat for the first time. Every single step in the making of this dish brought with it some sort of internal reflection that I decided to allow myself to relate to each step of the way.

It’s been a while since I have written for AWiB, actually about three years, if I am not mistaken. And when given the opportunity to delve back to into what used to be, for lack of better words, therapeutic to me. Instead, I froze. I could not deliver my first blog on time because I was too stuck in my head and too concerned about what to say. And then I still procrastinated enough till the last minute for the next deadline date. Just so you know, I was always going to write about my doro wat making experience.

And here we go…

I tried to break the whole process into the actual self-reflection that I felt correlated with each step during it all.

The Price of Shopping and Prep Work

SELF CARE – Deciding to Choose You

What is going on with the price of, not just food, but just every absolute thing? I know that I know grocery shopping was getting hard but believe me, when I tell you that I was shocked with the price it costs to make our traditional Ethiopian chicken stew, I was floored. All this time I was just eating and enjoying and never not once really appreciating the costs people endured to make such a meal for us, their guests.

So, I thought to myself, when was the last time I decided to choose to do something, commit to it and take action towards it? Well, not to lie, life has been quite a struggle after having to change everything about my whole life and changing my whole routine. But I decided to take on the next new challenge of life; regardless of the total and absolute understanding that I was stepping into new waters. As confusing as the future and sometimes bleak as it might have seemed I still chose to get on the ride going forward.

Shopping for the items for my chicken stew reminded me that sometimes in life being sidetracked is actually a good thing in that it just might remind you that you need to empty your single sock drawers and go buy you some new ones. Sometimes, you need to be reminded to wear those shoes you put way back in the back and forgot you even owned. And sometimes you just need to make the effort and go out and buy yourself something new, because you just need to.

Stewing the Onions

THE RIDE – The Journey

The lines at the government office don’t take as long as I spent churning and watering the stew so the onions would cook to nothingness, which I learned was the key to the whole show when it comes to doro wat. The amount of patience that is required to make this stew is beyond what I believed to be necessary for cooking.

Hence thinking about the patience of sitting there and just constantly churning and stirring and watering and waiting and watching; I thought about just how it relates to our personal journey when we are walking a new line, heading towards a new path, or just simply transitioning from one routine to another as we better ourselves. People always see the final product on the outside and sometimes it’s easy when we see someone transformed or changed in any slight way. We tend to think how easy it must have been. We forget just how difficult the actual ride; how trying the actual journey is.

The Washing of the Chicken

CLEANSING – Shedding and Saying Goodbye

No?! Really? It really is supposed to take almost half the day washing a chicken. And, it’s not just water and the basics, I mean first the general water washing with lemons, then there are systematic ways like rubbing shiro that supposedly gets the bad ‘unseen’ slime off the skin, etc… Let me reiterate that there is the washing of the chicken over and over and over and over again.

And then to myself, I go back again. Shedding our old selves can be so relieving in the sense you are taking away loads of the unwanted energy that you have accumulated through the years. You are subconsciously making preparation to accept your newfound sense of peace and room for better energy and

The “Eating” Part

INDULGING – Appreciating

When I ate my doro wat, my first reaction was “Why in the world do I still feel little crunch like chews in my mouth?”. I learned later I bought the wrong type of onions for the stew. Come on?! All this effort and still there was something to say about it? Yes, actually that is just how life works. It’s that whole Murphy Law concept that says, “Whatever will go wrong will go wrong”. You can’t expect everything to go just perfectly because, well, not all the time can that be achieved and honestly perfection is all subjective.

“Appreciating” to me is just that, you get to a point where you know what you have gone through to get to that certain place in your life or that certain juncture in your journey and you have to make sure to appreciate yourself for the work done. Unfortunately, only you and you alone are the one who knows what you went through and are supposed to pat yourself on the back for your effort. It’s not so much the result or the destination, as much as it is the process and the journey it took you to get to where you were aiming for.

Speaking frankly, this blog is not one I am entirely thrilled with. Like I said I have to find my writing groove again and figure out how I want to write as a blogger this time around with my new AWiB journey that I am partaking on. I am going to pat myself on the back as I start this ride and take the first step into what I know, with consistency and a little more discipline, I’ll eventually get my stew just right enough for my reader’s enjoyment.


The chicken didn’t turn out as tender as all the time I let it stew.

I was told I probably bought an older, athletic chicken.

Never-ending lessons.

Written by: Marthe Nzokou Giday

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