Injera: Ethiopian Delicacy
Injera sometimes transliterated as enjera is a sourdough-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff flour, it is a national dish in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
2 cup teff flour
2 cup self-rising flour rice or barley flour
1/2 tea spoon baking powder
5 cup warm water
The most valued grain used to make injera is from the tiny, iron-rich teff. However, its production is limited to certain middle elevations and regions with adequate rainfall, so it is relatively expensive for the average household. As many farmers in the Ethiopian highlands grow their own subsistence grain, wheat, barley, corn, and or rice flour are sometimes used to replace some or all of the teff content. There are also different varieties of injera in Ethiopia, such as nech (white), kay (red) and tikur (black).
In making injera, teff flour is mixed with water and allowed to ferment for several days, as with sourdoughstarter. As a result of this process, injera has a mildly sour taste. The injera is then ready to bake into large flat pancakes. This is done either on a specialized electric stove or, more commonly, on a clay plate placed over a fire. Unusual for yeast or sourdough bread, the dough has sufficient liquidity to be poured onto the baking surface, rather than rolled out. In terms of shape, injera compares to the French crêpe and the Indian dosa as a flatbread cooked in a circle and used as a base for other foods. The taste and texture, however, are unlike the crêpe and dosa, and more similar to the South Indian appam. The bottom surface of the injera, which touches the heating surface, will have a relatively smooth texture, while the top will become porous. This porous structure allows the injera to be a good bread to scoop up sauces and dishes.
In a large bowl we will mix 2 1/2 cups water with 2 cups teff flour
In a blender mix self-rising or other flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 2 1/2 cups water, then pour mixture into a second bowl.
Cover both bowls and leaves them for 2-3 days until fermentation and water has risen to the top of each mixture.
Carefully pour off the water that now covers the mixtures.
Combine the two mixtures in one bowl, cover and let the mixture stand for 2 hours until it rises.
Pour the batter evenly to form a thin layer over the surface of a large heated skillet. The skillet temperature should be 425F.
Cook mixture until a spongy, crepe-like bread is formed. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Place food on injera and arrange folded injera around edges of serving dish.
Keye Doro Wat Ingredients:
One chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoons salt
2 onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup Berbere Red Pepper Paste
2 tablespoons paprika
1/4 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup water
4 hard-boiled eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Keye Doro Wat Preparation:
Rinse and dry the chicken pieces. Marinate them in lemon juice and salt for 30 minutes.
Cook the onions over moderate heat for about 5 minutes in a heavy stew pot. Do not let brown or burn. Stir in the butter, garlic and spices. Add the berbere and paprika. Sauté for 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and water and bring to a boil.
Put the chicken into the boiling sauce. Cover and simmer in low heat for 30 minutes, adding water as necessary to maintain a sauce-like consistency.
Add the hard-boiled eggs and turn them gently in the sauce.
Cover and cook the doro wat for 15 more minutes. Add pepper to taste.
In Eritrea and Ethiopia, a variety of stews, sometimes salads (during Ethiopian Orthodox fasting, for which believers abstain from most animal products) or simply more injera (called injera firfir), are placed upon the injera for serving. Using one’s right hand, small pieces of injera are torn and used to grasp the stews and salads for eating. The injera under these stews soaks up the juices and flavours of the foods and, after the stews and salads are gone, this bread is also consumed. Injera is thus simultaneously food, eating utensil, and plate. When the entire “tablecloth” of injera is gone, the meal is over