Kai Sega Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Beef Stew)

Kai sega wat is a spicy Ethiopian beef stew. This stew is one of my favourite beef stews. It’s got an amazing depth of flavour. That being said, if you’ve never had kai sega wat before, I must warn you that it’s very spicy. This stew is not messing around when it comes to its level of spiciness. So, if you love spicy food, you’ve come to the right place. If you don’t really like spicy food but would still like to try this stew, you can adjust the spice level to make it more suitable to your taste; the instructions for this are in the notes section of this post. 

How to Make Kai Sega Wat

Berbere spice, which gives kai sega wat its spiciness, is a key ingredient for the stew. You can purchase berbere spice from a grocery store that sells African food. You can also purchase it online or you can make your own; here’s my recipe for berbere spice. If you want your kai sega wat to be less spicy, I would advise you to make your own berbere spice so you can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper and chili powder that goes into the berbere spice to make it less spicy.

In addition to berbere spice (I used ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons of berbere spice for this stew), you will need 50 grams of stewing beef (chopped into about 1.5 inch cubes), 4 large red onions, 4 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 teaspoon of ginger (minced), 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of niter kibbeh, 1 teaspoon of salt (plus more, to taste), and ¾ cup of hot water (plus more, if needed).

Place the chopped beef on a plate and season it with 1 teaspoon of salt. Put the beef in the fridge while you work on the next steps. Peel and coarsely chop the red onions. Pour the onions into a food processor and use it to mince the onions. Heat a medium, heavy bottom pot on a stove on low heat. Put the onions in the pot and cook covered until the onions turn into a puree (see picture above). This should take about 20 minutes. Use a cooking spoon to stir the onions occasionally to prevent burning. Add bits of hot water to the pot if the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pot and start to burn. You can also turn the heat down further to prevent burning.

Add the oil to the onions. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix the berbere spice with the onions, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally to prevent burning. Add the beef to the onion mixture. Mix, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, ginger and niter kibbeh to the stew. Mix well and cook covered for 40 minutes. Continue to stir the stew occasionally. Add salt (to taste) and ¾ cup of hot water to the stew. Cook covered for 20 minutes or until the stew is your desired thickness.

Remove the stew from the stove once it’s done cooking and let it cool down for a bit. You can garnish the stew with about 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Kai sega wat is typically eaten with injera (a widely known Ethiopian flatbread). To eat the stew with injera, you tear off bits of the injera and use it to scoop up the stew like you would with a fork or spoon. You can also eat the stew with rice. Enjoy!

Notes

To make this stew less spicy, you can do one or more of the following:

  • Make your own berbere spice and use less cayenne pepper and chili powder in the spice mix to make it less spicy.

  • Use less berbere spice than this recipe calls for and include ¼ cup of tomato sauce in the stew to get the same red colour without the spiciness; add the tomato sauce when you add the garlic, ginger and niter kibbeh to the stew.

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Kai Sega Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Beef Stew)

Kai sega wat is a spicy Ethiopian beef stew. This stew has an amazing depth of flavour. It is bold and delicious.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Main
Cuisine: African
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 168kcal
Author: Mavis K.

Ingredients

  • 50 g stewing beef (chopped into about 1.5 inch cubes)
  • 4 large red onions (peeled and coarsely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp ginger (minced)
  • 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp niter kibbeh
  • ¼ cup + 2 tsp berbere spice
  • 1 tsp salt (plus more, to taste)
  • ¾ cup hot water (plus more, if needed)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat a medium, heavy bottom pot on the stove on low heat
  • Put the chopped beef on a plate and season it with 1 tsp of salt. Place the beef in the fridge while you work on the next steps.
  • Use a food processor to mince the chopped onions
  • Pour the onions into the pot. Cover the pot and cook the onions until they turn into a puree (about 20 minutes). Use a cooking spoon to stir the onions occasionally to prevent burning. Add bits of hot water to the onions if they start to stick to the bottom of the pot and start to burn. You can also turn the heat down further to prevent burning.
  • Add the oil to the onions. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour the berbere spice into the pot. Mix well with the onions and cook for 10 minutes with the pot covered. Occasionally stir the mixture to prevent burning.
  • Add the beef to the onion mixture. Mix well and cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add and mix the garlic, ginger and niter kibbeh to the stew. Cook with the pot covered for 40 minutes. Continue to stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  • Add salt (to taste) and ¾ cup of hot water to the stew. Cook covered for 20 minutes or until the stew is your desired thickness.
  • Remove the stew from the stove once it's done cooking. Let it cool down for a bit so that it's not piping hot. Garnish the stew with fresh thyme (if desired ) and serve with injera or rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 1172mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 10mg

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