Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Teff Talk: Ethiopian Pancakes (Injera)


Some months ago, I made injera, or what I thought was a reasonable facsimile of the famously dense, oversized Ethiopian pancake, the de rigueur of a culture that eats with its hands. It was to accompany a stunningly hot doro wat, a simple chicken stew thick with tomatoes and onions, shot through with hellion berbere seasoning. The doro wat, hotter than I thought humanly possible to consider putting in one’s mouth, was a hands-down success, but there was something amiss with the pancakes because something was missing: teff, the chief ingredient. I am happy to report that it is missing no more. Thanks to Whole Foods, I was able to seize a fresh cellophane sack of the finely ground, distinctive grain, delirious in my discovery. After much research, I settled on one highly authentic recipe, happy to wait the 24 hours before the batter comes to fermented term.

I suspect the first wat dish was even hotter than the custom, since my pancakes did not have the sour, spongy quality that only teff, live yeast and the time to cure can conjure. It is this distinctive taste and texture that helps to balance the incendiary. Since I doubt I will be visiting Addis Ababa any time soon, thanks to teff, I can go there right in my own kitchen.

Tomorrow evening the injera batter will be ready for the griddle. I will also revisit the doro wat recipe and post on what I expect to be a beautifully adventurous meal worth the wait.


Injera - from EthiopianRestaurant.com (recipe linked above)

Ingredients

4 cups teff flour
3 cups luke warm water
1 teaspoon active powdered baker's yeast

Method

In a large bowl, mix teff flour and yeast, then mix in luke warm water, stirring well. (Please see photo above.) Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in warmest part of your kitchen. I have it in the oven with the light bulb left on. --

3 comments:

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

I love recipes like this. It's great to get inside the staple foods of other countries.

Susan said...

It was a beautiful meal, too, as I expected. The injera, however, did not look as "beautiful" as I'd hoped, but that's because I lacked the knack with the griddle. No complaints, though. It was impossibly delicious. Will post within a few days.

Lori said...

A lot of the recipes I have found for teff are quite complicated because they use wild yeast. I am happy to find your recipe! I will make it as soon as I get some teff. I visit the local Ethoiopian restaurant mainly for the injera. I can somewhat replicate their food in my kitchen but not the injera. I am so excited.