Friday, January 23, 2009


Injera is an Ethiopian pancake served with Ethiopian stew called wat.  Injera in the US is often a mix of wheat flour and teff flour.  It doesn't have to be that way though.  Teff flour is made from the seed of the teff plant, which grows in; you guessed it; Ethiopia.  Injera taste nothing like wheat pancakes, but they do have that bread taste to them.  They're also vegan, plus they require three ingredients, teff flour, salt, and water.  How many gluten free, egg free, dairy free,  nut free, soy free products can have that claim?  Not very many.  
The main thing injera requires is time!  A lot of time!  My first trial with injera went very well.  I fermented the batter for 24 hours.  The injera was good, but it didn't spread like I thought it should and it wasn't all that sour.  So, the next time I made it, I planned to let it go the full 72 hours.  After 60 hours, mine had sprouted big spots of blue mold!  I ended up dumping that, and serving my stew with tortilla chips.  This is probably due to the moldy nature of Seattle in general.  Everything molds here faster than it ever did in the desert.  

Teff flour can be found at most natural food markets.  For those of you who live around me, Madison Co-op in Capital Hill carries teff in their bulk section, which is great if you're trying out a new recipe.  PCC only carries it in a bag (they seem pretty limited in their GF flours in bulk).  

Authentic Injera (original recipe found here)



1 1/2 cups ground teff 

2 cups water

sea salt, to taste

vegetable oil, for the skillet (I used palm oil)


1. Mix ground teff with the water and let stand in a bowl covered with a dish towel at room temperature until it bubbles and has turned sour; This may take as long as 3 days, depending on where you live.  Check every 12 hours to make sure it doesn't turn blue. The fermenting mixture should be the consistency of a very thin pancake batter.

This is good batter:
This is not-so-good batter:
Seriously, don't eat it if it looks like that!

2. Stir in the salt, a little at a time, until you can barely detect its taste.

3. Lightly oil an 8 or 9 inch skillet (or a larger one if you like); Heat over medium heat.
4. Pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the skillet; 
(original directions: About 1/4 cup will make a thin pancake covering the surface of an 8 inch skillet if you spread the batter around immediately by turning and rotating the skillet in the air; This is the classic French method for very thin crepes; Injera is not supposed to be paper thin so you should use a bit more batter than you would for crepes, but less than you would for a flapjack pancakes).  This is not how mine worked.  I ended up using closer to 1/2 C per pancake, and had difficulty spreading it as thin as the recipe says.  I ended up with very weird shaped pancakes, that still tasted great (see above picture)

5. Cook briefly, until holes form in the injera and the edges lift from the pan; Do not let it brown, and don't flip it over as it is only supposed to be cooked on one side.  

6. Remove and place onto serving plate (as in the actual plate from which it will be consumed.  Mine stuck to the serving plate, like it was glued, and was very difficult to remove.  Set aside and finish other pancakes.  (I like to heat my plates briefly in our toaster oven before I put any food on them, so the food stays warm longer.

7. Ladle your chosen dishes on top (e.g., a lovely doro wat or alicha). Serve additional injera on the side. Guests can be instructed to eat their meal without utensils, instead using the injera to scoop up their food. (or you can be like us and eat the stew with a spoon, scraping up bites of injera as you go).  
I served mine with beef stew on top

1 comment:

  1. this looks very weird and interesting. i might have to try it :)
    Luke would probably say just scoop the mold off the top and use the rest of's all moldy anyway, right?