Shiro wat is my favorite Ethiopian dish. This richly spiced and thick soup is amazingly delicious. It is also incredibly easy to make using whatever spices you have in your pantry!
The easiest way to make shiro wat is to head down to your local Ethiopian grocer and buy shiro powder then add cooked onions and garlic.
However, if you would like to adjust the spices or turn down the heat a little, then I recommend making a from-scratch version using chickpea flour.
How to serve shiro wat
Shiro wat is traditionally served with injera flatbread. It is a soup that is thick enough that you can scoop it up with the injera.
If you haven’t tried making injera, then I highly recommend it. It is a flatbread/pancake made with a naturally soured batter. Here’s my recipe for a 100% teff gluten-free injera. It is super simple and delicious.
While you’re at it, here are a few other dishes that are delicious with injera:
- Gomen wot is an Ethiopian stew made from wilted greens.
- This spiced carrots, cabbage, and potatoes dish is hearty and delicious.
- For something different (and fermented!) try turmeric-spiced sauerkraut.
Chickpea Flour Shiro Wat
It’s easy to make shiro wat with chickpea flour. This richly flavored soup uses a homemade spice mix to replace the traditional berbere spice for a less spicy alternative that is perfect for kids and people who want to enjoy Ethiopian food without the heat.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Ethiopian
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch of ground cloves
- 2 medium onions
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 2 cups of water
- 2 Tbsp cultured butter (or olive oil)
- 3/4 tsp salt, to taste
- For a spicy shiro wat, replace the spice mix with 3 Tbsp of berbere spice. The flavor will be similar, but with the kick of heat. Otherwise, mix the spices in a small bowl and set them aside.
- Place the onions in a food processor and pulse until fully pureed.
- Saute the onion puree in a dry pot until it is starting to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the oil and spices. Saute for another 1-2 minutes until the spices are fragrant.
- Add tomato paste and garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes more.
- Whisk in the chickpea flour, fully coating the flour in the oil. Then gradually start to add the water, whisking constantly like you were making a thickened sauce. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Finish with the butter and salt to taste.
- Serve with fresh injera.
Keywords: vegan, gluten free, grain free, sugar free, not spicy, traditional, easy, quick, 30 minutes or less, African-inspired, fall, winter, ethnic
I made this recipe this morning. I used berbere spices I had already but undspiced it so it wouldn’t be too hot. it was really good, and my spouse couldn’t get enough of it. and so easy. I like that it’s vegan. I found a four pound bag of chickpea flour at a local Indian Nepalese store for five dollars. I will do a couple things differently next time. but I was very glad to have your recipe as a starting point. thank you.
Glad you liked it!
I have been looking forever for a make-your-own spice mix for a meal of this dish and I am so glad I found yours. This recipe is marvelous!
Thanks! The credit goes to my husband, who adapted this recipe to suit our pantry. 🙂
We don’t make shiro with tomatoes paste.
Thanks for sharing.
Eritreans make it with fresh tomatoes or tomatoe paste. This looks really good.
Hi Rahel, You’re completely right, this is not a traditional shiro wat recipe. It’s my husband’s simple, less spicy version that we love. I really do love Ethiopian cuisine. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to eat it in a restaurant since being diagnosed with a gluten allergy in 2009. All our local restaurants use wheat in their injera, so I have to make it myself. I know that shiro wat isn’t a soup… but I’m not exactly sure what category to use on my westernized recipe card. Perhaps a side dish? Wishing you all the best, Emillie
We make something similar in Pakistani cuisine which we call curry ( this is actual curry not the not what the west has adapted the name to mean) we make the onion garlic ginger and spice base then whisk some gram flour into a soured yoghurt diluted to double its amount until slightly thickened. This is then poured into the base and slowly cooked until thickened. This could be eaten omits own but we prefer to add to it fried spiced potato , onion and gram flour dumplings called pakoras . I myself am gluten free and love eating on its own but can be eaten with flatbread or rice
I’m going to love trying out the teff injera recipe thanks
Thanks for sharing! It definitely sounds like the sort of dish I would love. Can you tell me the name? Or is it a gram flour variation of dahl? Cheers, Emillie