Injera, an Ethiopian Staple

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Injera, an Ethiopian Staple

star rating (4) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

In Ethiopia, injera, the flatbread that appears at most meals, is made from flour of the tiny teff grain (150 teff grains equal the weight of one kernel of wheat), and measures 2 feet in diameter! It's prepared on a very large ceramic cooking pan and served both as edible plate and "utensil," to replace forks, spoons and knives and to be torn into pieces to scoop up spicy stews or other foods.

Here in the United States, the soft, pliable injera is cooked more frequently into 9-inch circles to fit the pans available, but its taste can be replicated more easily. The traditional Ethiopian version tends to have a more assertive flavor due to its fermentation time of three days, but you can let your batter sit from anywhere between 1 and 3 days before using it; we let ours sit 48 hours. We also made our injera with millet flour instead of teff flour because the former is more widely available than the latter and, since millet is a close relative of teff, the two flours are similar enough that they can be substituted for one another. Our recipe contains a small amount of cultured yeast as well, though it can be omitted. Try it both ways and see which you prefer. The first time you make one of these breads, you'll probably be reminded of a cross between a thin potato pancake and a spongy, lacy, slightly acidic crêpe.

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water, 105° to 110°F
1 1/2 cups millet flour

Proof the yeast with the sugar and 1/4 cup of the warm water and set aside until small bubbles appear. Mix in the the remaining water and all the millet flour, stir well, and cover with plastic wrap.

For a delicate flavor, let the batter sit for 24 hours; for a more assertive flavor, let it sit for up to 72 hours. If you let it ferment for several days, stir the liquid that rises to the top back into the batter one or two times daily.

When you're ready to make the injera, heat a 9-inch round griddle or frying pan (which has a cover) over medium-low heat, and grease it well; if your pan is not non-stick, you'll probably want to grease the pan before starting each new bread. Pour 1/3 cup batter into the pan in a swirling motion from the outside to the inside, tipping the pan to cover the bottom with batter and adding 1 to 2 additional tablespoons batter if necessary.

Cover and cook for 3 minutes, until the top of the injera is dry to the touch and the underside is only lightly browned. (Though the injera is not supposed to have crispy edges, which interfere with the ease of rolling it, we let a few get away from us and actually liked the added crunch.)

Using a spatula, transfer the finished injera to a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter. Stack the breads like pancakes, covered with a cloth if you wish, until ready to serve them, warm or cold. Then go dig into your waiting stew! This is your chance to rip, tear and use your hands with your food all at once. Yield: six 9-inch breads.

Nutrition information per serving (1 injera, 142g): 144 cal, 1.2g fat, 4g protein, 30g complex carbohydrates, 4g dietary fiber, 5mg sodium, 182mg potassium, 3mg iron, 17mg calcium, 152mg phosphorus.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 07/29/2013
  • Nancy from Virginia
  • I wonder if the batter was just too liquid to work. Other recipes call for adding flour and water to a bit of starter to make the consistency more like French crepe batter. When dry on top, my injera was goopy underneath and stuck to my well-seasoned crepe pan. No lacy bubbles either.
    It sounds like you may have had some issues with your ingredients from the beginning. I hope you will give us a call on the baker's hotline so we can discuss the details. 855-371-BAKE. ~Amy
  • 03/31/2010
  • Michelle from San Jose, CA
  • I've seen injera recipes using buckwheat flour. Can I substitute the millet flour with it? Will the taste be close to authentic? Thanks.
    We rely on you to tell us if the substitution of buckwheat flour for millet will give the authentic taste you are expecting from this recipe. Please post your results for all to benefit from! Irene @ KAF
  • 06/30/2009
  • Tom from Fairbanks
  • Am very interested in this recipe, but can't find Millet Flour, including on your website. Any pointers to sources? Millet flour is an ingredient in some of our flour blends. Try www.bobsredmill.com Irene at KAF
  • star rating 02/28/2009
  • Nadja Adolf from Newark, CA
  • OK, here's the problem - could you tell me what "medium low" means in degrees F or degrees C? Different stoves have very different stovetop power ratings and it would make the recipe easier to use. Also, I'd like to use my lefse cooker instead of the stovetop, and the control is similar to that of an electric skillet and gives degrees F. In the old days "medium low" was considered somewhere between 300-325 F, but that doesn't sound right.
    Unfortunately, there are no standardized settings, bewteen appliances. We do not have an exact temperature setting to give you. The easiest way to evaluate your appliance of choice is to compare what is suppose to be happening on the cooking surface to the initial heat selection, then adjust accordingly.
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