Injera, an Ethiopian staple traditionally made with teff flour, is a spongy flatbread made with a thin sourdough batter. Served in a communal place setting, assertively spiced sauces and stews are ladled on overlapping rounds and pieces are torn off to scoop up the chunkier bits. Additional injera may also be neatly folded into quarters and served on the side.
Ethiopian food is very well-represented in Chicago. I’ve somehow developed an addiction a taste for it, much like the occasional Chinese or Indian food cravings. If you’re going to an Ethiopian restaurant, keeping in mind that you’ll share a common plate and eat with your hands, it’s good to know a few things about dining etiquette:
- Use your right hand for eating, because it is assumed that the left hand is used for less savory personal activities.
- Keep your fingers from getting in contact with the sauces and your mouth. You’ll never find an Ethiopian restaurant with a slogan of “Finger Lickin’ Good.”
- If someone offers to feed you a morsel, open up and say ahh. I’m sure you can think of many worse things that someone can pop in your mouth.
Injera (100% Teff)
Ethiopian Sourdough Flatbread
makes about 4 to 6 injera
|teff starter from the previous batch||1/4 cup||2||57|
|water, at room temperature||1 3/4 cups||14||397|
|teff flour||1 3/4 cups||8||227|
- If making injera for the first time, use white or whole wheat sourdough starter instead of the teff starter. Mary also has a recipe for making the starter from scratch. She also has a collection of Ethiopian recipes to serve with injera.
Mix. Place the starter in a bowl. Pour the water over the starter and stir to dissolve. Add the teff flour and mix until the batter is smooth. It will have the consistency of thin pancake batter.
Ferment. Cover and let stand for 5 to 6 hours at room temperature. Reserve 1/4 cup of the starter for the next batch.
Add the salt and stir to dissolve.
Heat a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat (you’ll also need a tight-fitting lid). Using a paper towel, wipe the skillet with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Pour about 1/2 cup (for a 10-inch skillet) or 3/4 cup (for a 12-inch skillet) of batter in the center of the skillet. Tilt and swirl the skillet immediately to coat evenly. Let the bread cook for about 1 minute, just until holes start to form on the surface.
Cover the skillet with the lid to steam the injera. Cook for about 3 minutes, just until the edges pull away from the sides and the top is set.
Storage. Transfer the injera to a wire rack and cool completely. Wrap tightly with plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Can you see the Virgin Mary? Me neither.