Danielle’s Foolproof Quick Injera
Well, I’ve finally done it! After three years of experimentation, I’ve come up with a foolproof Ethiopian injera recipe that is quick and easy. Granted, it does not have the complex, sourdough flavor of the long-fermented injera that takes days to prepare. But it is so close to it most people, even those who are Ethiopian aficionados, can not tell the difference.
If you are craving Ethiopian food and have some sourdough starter on hand, this is a bread you can create from start to finish in as little as 20 minutes.
Teff, a vital ingredient in good Ethiopian injera, is a very nutritious grain from Africa and is arguably the tiniest individual grain in the world. Injera is an Ethiopian flatbread with a consistency somewhere between a crepe and a pancake. It is spongy and flexible with a sour flavor which perfectly compliments the savory and spicy Ethiopian stews on which they are served. The injera not only is your plate in an Ethiopian meal but also acts as the eating utensil. You just tear off a piece and fold it over a mound of stew on your plate, pinch off a bite, and pop it into your mouth. When you finish devouring the stews, you eat the plate which has become saturated with their delicious juices!
Every Ethiopian chef I’ve met says it is virtually impossible to make Injera using 100% teff in the United States. No one seems to know the reason, but it is believed to have something to do with climate and humidity. This recipe is my version, which is quite comparable to the best injera I’ve eaten in Ethiopian restaurants.
Important! Read before proceeding!
When working with flour, it is much more accurate to measure by weight than by volume. In creating this recipe, I used a scale for each measurement, even the water. A sourdough starter may be one volume when you begin a recipe and can easily double in size by the time you add it to the batter because it is alive and actively growing as it sits on your countertop. Even though it increases in volume, its
If you do not have a kitchen scale that measures in both ounces and grams, you may use the volume measurements beside each ingredient. Use a spoon to loosely fill your measuring cup with flour. Level off the cup with the back of a knife. Do not scoop the flour from a bag or container with the measuring cup or shake the flour down into the cup to level it off. This will densely pack your cup, and you will have more flour than called for in the recipe.
- 160 grams teff flour approximately 1 cup by volume
- 230 grams all-purpose flour approximately 1 3/4 cup by volume
- 250 grams sourdough starter approximately 1 cup by volume
- 945 grams water 4 cups by volume
- 1 tbsp baking powder 12 grams
- 1 tbsp cornstarch 12 grams
In a blender add 4 cups water and 1 cup teff flour. Blend on slow initially just to combine ingredients. Use a rubber spatula if necessary to scrape the dough from the sides of the blender. Test the teff by rubbing a bit of wet dough between your fingers. In the beginning, it feels grainy like a fine, wet sand. Turn blender up gradually until on high speed. Blend for one to two minutes. You can tell when the teff is ready when it is no longer very grainy. It will never be perfectly smooth but will be much less grainy than in the beginning.
Add all-purpose flour. Blend on low to combine. Turn off blender and scrape sides. Resume mixing on high only long enough to remove lumps, 15 to 30 seconds. Do not over-blend. (This will overdevelop the gluten in the flour and will result in a rubbery texture.)
Add sourdough starter and blend to combine. While the blender is still running, add baking powder and cornstarch. Gradually increase speed to high and blend for 30 seconds.
Allow batter or "leet" to rest for 15 minutes.
Heat a non-stick skillet with a lid on high heat. It is ready when a drop of water on the surface of the skillet sizzles and burns off quickly.
Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into the hot pan and tilt the pan on all sides unit the batter spreads evenly across the bottom of the pan. The amount of batter you use depends upon the size of your pan. I use a 12" flat-bottom skillet with straight sides with a lid.
Cook on high heat for 15 seconds or until holes form on the top of the pancakes and the batter begins to firm. Cover and continue cooking until the edges of the pancake begin to lift from the sides of the pan and begin to curl. Depending on the heat of your stove, the entire process should take 1 1/2 to 3 minutes. As moisture accumulates on the inside of the lid, wipe it off with a paper towel or a clean cotton cloth so the moisture does not drop onto the injera and cause gummy spots. The pancake should be filled with little holes the Ethiopians call "eyes". The injera should also easily slide in the pan when shaken.
Slide onto a clean cloth on a countertop or table. I like to use flour sack towels (I also use one for wiping the moisture from the pan's lid). While the injera is cooling begin another in exactly the same manner. When the injera has cooled completely, you may stack them on top of each other. The injera must be completely cooled, not room temperature but rather cool to the touch, before they are stacked. Otherwise they will stick together and become unusable.
This recipe should make eight to ten 12-inch injeras, depending on how thick you make them. One should be used as a the plate for Ethiopian stews. The rest should be rolled up like cigars and served on the side. These will be used to eat the stews by pinching the stews between pieces of injera. Then just pop it into your mouth! No utensils, no problem!
Note- if for some reason you have accidentally folded an edge of the injera over itself while transferring to the cloth to cool (it happens to the best of us), allow it to cool slightly before attempting to straighten the injera. If you do it while still hot, you will make a gummy spot on the injera. If you let it cool a little, it will lay flat when you pull it to its correct position with little or no harm to the bread.
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