Whilst chapatis and dosas are common flatbread and pancakes of India, Injera is staple of pancakes in Ethiopia. Its texture is comparable to French crepes or Indian dosas. 'A' 's formative years were spent in Ethiopia when his parents worked there in their younger years. Lucky for me, as I have now begun to explore a cuisine which I never would have earlier on had I not known of it from A and my mom-in-law.
Injera is made of teff flour and is a yeast-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture. Teff is a unique grain which is iron-rich in nature. Teff flour is normally mixed with water and is allowed to ferment for days which is then used as a sourdough starter. The sourdough is stored for long periods and is subsequently used in batches of Injera batter to follow. The mildly sour flavour thus follows. Traditionally the batter for Injera is spread over a large clay plate. The batter has to be sufficiently liquid as that of a crepe to spread into a large circle. The bottom of the Injera would be smooth whilst the top would be porous in texture. The porous nature allows the Injera to scoop up stews, sauces and the like. I made the Injera with a Yefesoleya Wot (Ethiopian French beans Stew).
|Injera with Yefesoleya Wot|
I looked all over Hyderabad and did not find the Teff flour. 'A' checked with some of our Ethiopian church go-ers and they confirm that Teff was unavailable in Hyderabad and they are very much adjusted to our chapatis and dosas now. They have promised to try and get me a batch of Teff flour in case someone known arrives from Ethiopia:). Reading online I read that some of the common variants to Teff flour is ground millet or ground Bajra. So I went with that.
- 700 gms of millet flour or bajra flour
- 1 packet of yeast (2 tsp)
- 6 cups of boiled/cooled water
Cooking Time: 20 minutes | Preparation Time: 30 minutes | Makes 8-10 large injera
- In a large deep bottomed pot/skillet, take 3-6 cups of the water and add the millet flour. Mix well by hand. Tip: Add 2-3 cups of water at first and the flour and slowly add more water as required till a sufficiently liquid batter is formed. Do not make it too watery.
- Next add the yeast and mix well. Cover and allow the batter to rise up which takes a minimum of 10-20 minutes.
- Preheat a large pancake pan to 425°F. I used an iron one I had from Mum's kitchen.
|Ladle in Injera batter|
- Take a deep curved ladle or a cup with at least 3/4 cup of the batter and pour it into the center of the pan and spread the batter with the ladle working your way in clockwise fashion. If using a cup you can pour from the outer circle and work your way in clockwise fashion to the center.
|Injera batter spread on a heated pancake pan|
- Allow it to cook for 3-4 minutes and then transfer to a clean cloth. Continue the same way until the batter is completely used. Alternatively, you can also reserve a portion of the batter and refrigerate to use as a starter for your next injera batter mix. You can serve this with a stew of your choice. I served it with Yefesoleya Wot (Ethiopian French beans Stew).
|Injera served with Yefesoleya Wot|
- Serve warm. Cover and store in a cool, dry place for later meals. Refrigerated, the injera can also last 2-3 days.