Instant Pot Key Wat (Ethiopian Beef Stew)

I started with a recipe on how to make Key Wat in the Instant Pot from Key Wat is a lovely rich and spicy stew and makes a fun change from traditional beef stew. While it is traditionally served on Injera bread, I find it is also delicious served over polenta or rice.

Serves 8 to 10


  • 3 tablespoons Niter Kibbeh (Clarified butter with spices) – You can substitute clarified butter (ghee) or oil
  • 2 large onions, diced or sliced (2 1/2 cups of onion)
  • 1 tablespoon of peeled, grated ginger (about 1 inch of a large ginger nob)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (about 5 garlic cloves) I use a garlic press.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste (6 tablespoons)
  • 4 tablespoons of Berber seasoning (I like Frontier’s Berber seasoning) or 2 tablespoons if you don’t like as much spicy heat
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons of “Beef Better than Bouillon” (optional but adds richness)
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • Parsley, cilantro, or sliced scallions for garnish (optional)


Instant Pot, knife, cutting board, wooden spoon


  1. Press Sauté on the Instant Pot and add the 3 tablespoons of Niter Kibbeh (or ghee or oil) to the inner pot.
  2. Once the Niter Kibbeh has melted and is hot, add the onion and salt. Sauté stirring with the wooden spoon until the onions are slightly caramelized, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic to the inner pot stir them into the onions for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the Berber seasoning, ground coriander and ground cumin to the inner pot. Stir into the onion mixture and let the spices bloom for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the tomato paste and stir into the onion mixture for about 30 seconds to a minute.
  6. Add 1/2 a cup of water to the inner pot and stir occasionally for a minute.
  7. Add the cut up chuck roast to the inner pot, the rest of the water (1 1/2 cups) and the 2 teaspoons of “Beef Better than Bouillon” (optional but adds richness) .
  8. Stir, press Cancel, close the Instant Pot with the lid. Select Meat/Stew and set to 35 minutes and let release naturally.
  9. Open the pot at add the sugar and stir it in. Taste for salt and add more if it needs it.
  10. Turn off pot. Put the stew in a large bowl and sprinkle the stew with the garnish of your choice, then serve.


Instead of using “Beef Better than Bouillon” and 2 cups of water, you can use beef bouillon or beef stock or beef bone broth.

Sugar – you can use honey, white sugar, or light molasses

This can also be made on the stove top. In a heavy pot, heat over medium high heat and follow the directions from adding the Niter Kibbeh to the pot to instruction 7. Bring to simmer and then lower to the temperature to low. Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. Once the meat is tender, add the sugar, stir it in, then taste for salt.

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