ETHIOPIA’S POPULAR INJERA
Ethiopia’s national dish is known as wat. A hot spicy stew of chicken or beef or lentils or vegetables, stewed with the fiery berbere spice. Wat is eaten with injera, which is a huge spongy fermented pancake that is made of teff flour and water. The wat is placed directly on top of the injera and eaten using your fingers to tear off a piece of injera and using it to scoop up some of the delicious wat.
Teff flour is made from ground teff seeds which contain: protein, zinc, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B6. When combined with fermentation, the gluten-free injera delivers simply wonderful nutritional benefits to the body. Delightful.
We celebrate Injera in this issue in the same year that Ethiopia’s victory in a long-standing battle, to the rights to process teff was announced (though the ruling was made last year). The District Court in The Hague ruled that the two Dutch patents were invalid. One country down, 5 to go. And it’s on that victorious note that we share this nutritious, delicious, African dish:
• 2 cups teff flour
• 3 cups water
Mix 2 cups of teff flour and 3 cups of water together in a large mixing bowl. Cover loosely with a cloth, and allow to ferment for two to three days until it has a strong sour smell and is beginning to bubble due to fermentation. Heat a large flat pan on the stove until very hot.
Pour about one-third of a cup of batter onto the pan, and tilt the pan to allow the batter to run and cover the surface in a thin layer. Cook until firm on the first side, when the bubbles pop and remain open rather than filling up again.
This will indicate that it’s cooked on the first side.
Cover the pan and allow it to steam for another few minutes. Injera is not flipped like a pancake.
Place on a plate, in case you don’t have a tray and Mesob (traditional Ethiopian basket which also serves a communal dining table) and serve your dinner on top of the Injera.
Have a bash!
Injera is also the national dish of Eritrea. Versions of this fermented dish are found in
Somalia, Djibouti, Yemen and Israel where it goes by different names: Canjeelo, Lahooh, Lahoh.
Thanks to health food and nutrition expert Sarah Wambugu (Kenya) for this timely article on how to make Injera.