Sunday, January 6, 2013

Injera - Ethiopian Flatbread

I don't really know how exactly to describe this.  It's like a spongy sourdough crepe.  I guess that's the best way to explain it.  It's the national bread/carb of Ethiopia, which is the only country that eats that as their staple food, and it's awesome!
We've been to two Ethiopian restaurants so far in our adoption process, so that we can start to get to know the food that our little Josiah is accustomed to, and if you've never had Ethiopian food before, RUN and get some!  It's simple but the flavors are so complex!  It's absolutely delightful!
Of course I can't just limit our Ethiopian food to restaurants because, well, there are none locally, but also because I'm gonna be his Mama, and I need to be able to cook his comfort foods!  So of course I've begun trying to master Ethiopian food at home!  This year, while we're waiting for our newest little guy, we're going to be having a traditional Ethiopian dinner every Sunday...and I'm so excited about that!
Tonight we had some friends over (who had no idea what was on the menu) and they LOVED it!  :)  I wasn't sure I was going to like the injera this time around, but with the rest of the meal it was FABULOUS!  So worth the time and effort!
I wouldn't change a thing about any of the meal tonight!  We had Injera, Doro Wat (chicken stew), Lentil Wat (lentil stew), and Shirro Wat (a stew made out of dried bean powder, which sounds dreadful but was really really good!).


4 cups warm water (not too hot or it will kill the yeast!)
2 cups teff flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat or all purpose flour
2 tsp yeast

***Injera takes a few days to prepare as it needs to ferment!!!***
      You can do it overnight and it's ok, but it's best if it can sit for 3 nights

1.  Whisk all of the ingredients into a large glass or plastic bowl (NOT METAL!) until fully combined.  This will be a thin batter, not a thick dough!

2.  Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and sit on the counter for 3 full nights (don't move the bowl around!).  You want to make sure that there is lots of space between the injera mix and the plastic wrap so that it can work it's magic!

3.  After the third night, about a half hour before you are going to cook, place the fermented mixture into a blender and add about 1/4 cup warm water and blend for a minute or so.  Let rest for about 30 minutes.

4.  When ready to cook, heat a 12" skillet over medium high heat until good and hot.  Add about 1/3 cup of the injera batter to the pan and while holding the pan, turn your wrist so that it spreads out evenly over the bottom of the pan (it will be pretty thin like a crepe, not thick like a pancake!).  Put the lid on and cook for about 2-3 minutes until the edges start to curl upwards.  Remove the injera from the heat and allow to cool.

5.  Continue with the remaining injera batter.  When they are cool to the touch, roll them up and serve alongside the veggies and meat stews!

Now, I know...typically in Ethiopia they would take a very large platter and cover it with a large 20" around size piece of injera and then place the different stews all around it and everyone would share it...but we don't have a giant skillet, and so I just serve it this way :)  But, the rule is, NO FORKS!  Ethiopians don't use silverware, they use the injera as both a carb to fill their bellies and as their silverware.  You break off bite-size pieces of injera and use it to scoop up or grab little handfuls of stew.  It's SO good! 

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