A couple of weeks ago we ate at Addis Red Sea in Boston. It’s an Ethiopian restaurant. One of the fun parts of eating there is the platter the dishes are served on – it’s made of this giant spongy pancake that you eat at the end as it’s sopped up all the delicious juices. Of course I came away from there wondering how it’s made. So here’s my first try at making injera – traditional Ethiopian bread.
The first challenge was finding teff flour. Injera has the texture it does because the teff grain has no gluten – a good thing to know if you’re someone who can’t eat gluten. However, for my first try I decided to use a mix of teff and regular flour. The next challenge was getting it to ferment and basically turn into sourdough starter. I decided to give it a bit of a jump start with some yeast and then left it on the counter to bubble away for a couple of days. In the end it’s a bit like slightly think crepe batter.
Traditional injera are made in a special pan that is 15 or 16 inches across. I don’t have that pan – I was also worried that I wouldn’t be able to get it out of the pan if I used my large 12 inch one, so these are mini injera.
You can seen the nice bubbly texture of the bread as it cooks – it’s a little bit like a giant crumpet. We took them over to a neighbor’s house for dinner where we had them with a chicken tagine. Ok, that was mixing cuisines from different parts of Africa, but it was all yummy.
I started out following the injera recipe I found on the Exploratorium website. But there are lots of helpful recipes including a series of videos explaining each step. It didn’t have quite the nice sourdough flavor that we had at the restaurant, probably because I didn’t have time to develop a really good starter. I guess that means I’ll just have to experiment a few more times to improve – should be delicious.