Key Wat (Ethiopian Spicy Stewed Beef)


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Key wat is an Ethiopian style stew that is typically prepared with freshly ground spices plus chicken, beef, lamb or a variety of vegetables. The cornerstone of this dish is a spice blend called berbere spice, a deeply flavorful, spicy blend of cumin, cardamom, coriander, and fenugreek, garlic, cloves, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, paprika, cinnamon, and dried red chiles. These spices are all toasted and freshly ground and is similar to how garam masala is used in India.

This dish can easily be made in a slow cooker or on the stove top with a heavy bottom pan or dutch oven.  Key wat is traditionally served family style over a spongy flatbread called injera, now famous globally but brown rice or quinoa are also great substitutes. Enjoy! 


1 tbsp RawSpiceBar's berbere spice
1 lb. stew beef, cubed
Canola oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups canned, chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef stock 
Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Heat canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat beef dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown beef in batches, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove browned beef to a plate.
  2. Add more canola oil and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add berbere spice and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and cook, about 3-5 minutes. Add beef stock and beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low to simmer.
  5. Simmer beef, 1-2 hours. Remove beef and shred with two forks. Add beef back to the stock mixture and simmer, 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve with injera, couscous, or butternut squash.



  • Lisa

    I got Berbere from you as a try it free spice with my order and fell in love with it! Thank you for the match-making and the recipe, can’t wait to try it!

  • Mitch

    Joan, in this case we prefer not to drain them. As this dish simmers the liquid will reduce significantly. – Mitch, RawSpiceBar

  • Joan

    Should the canned, chopped tomatoes be drained before adding?

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