For home cooks accustomed to Western recipes, the most striking thing about the stew sometimes described as Ethiopia’s national dish is the order in which onions and fat are added. For doro we’et (also spelled as wat, wet or wet), the onions are cooked in an ungreased pan.

The resulting spicy chicken stew is traditionally served for Ethiopian New Year, which this year was celebrated on Sept. 11. “Many households (also) prepare other meat-based dishes, such as kikel, a soupy dish made by boiling lamb chops,” Kitchen Cabinet member Mulugeta Gebregziabher says.

And no matter what else is on the table, there’s always injera, the sour flatbread made from teff flour. Unfortunately, injera isn’t available locally on a regular basis. The same is true of koseret, a plant related to verbena: The spice is an optional addition to nitter kibbeh, a seasoned clarified butter that goes into doro we’et and can be stirred into bulgur or grits.

“I would say Google,” suggests the owner of African Market Groceries in North Charleston, who would identify himself only as “Larry.” “This isn’t Atlanta. I don’t buy that because I don’t have any (Ethiopians) here.”

Online sources for Ethiopian ingredients include and Berbere is available in local stores such as The Spice & Tea Exchange at 170 Church St.

— Hanna Raskin

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Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.