International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Injera

Injera (Ethiopian, Eritrean sourdough crepe)

(Ethiopian, Eritrean sourdough crepe)

Image Creative Commons by Rod Waddington

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Injera is the iconic sourdough crepe served with Ethiopian and Eritrean meals. Diners use their right hands to tear off a piece and gather up a bite of stew (wat) or salad before popping it into their mouths.

Most traditional injera is made with teff flour, made from a grass seed native to the Ethiopian highlands. Wheat flour is often added to give the batter addded texture and structural integrity.

Setting the batter aside for a couple days to ferment gives injera a pleasant sour flavor and a spongy texture when cooked. The longer the batter ferments, the more sour it gets. If you don't have time make a fermented batter, you can try our recipe for quick injera as a passable substitute.

Similar bread is served in Somalia (canjeero, or anjero), Sudan (kissra) and Yemen (lahoh, or laxoox).

About 10 to 12 individual crepes

Ingredients

  • Active dry yeast -- 1 teaspoon
  • Warm (110&def;F) water -- 1/2 cup
  • Teff flour -- 2 cups
  • All-purpose flour -- 1 cup
  • Water -- 3 1/2 cups
  • Salt -- 1 teaspoon

Method

  1. Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the teff flour, all-purpose flour and remaining 3 1/2 cups of water to make a smooth, runny batter. Stir in the activated yeast.
  3. Pour the batter into a large glass or plastic container. Cover loosely with a lid and set aside in a quiet, warm place for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
  4. Heat an large, ungreased, non-stick skillet over medium flame. Add about 1/2 cup of fermented batter and tilt the pan to spread over the bottom of the skillet. Cook until all the bubbles in the batter are popped and the bottom of the crepe is lightly browned.
  5. Cover the skillet with a lid, remove from heat and let the injera steam cook for another minute or so.
  6. Remove to a platter to cool and continue with the remaining batter.
  7. To serve individual diners, lay a single injera onto a plate for each diner and portion a scoop of each dish onto the injera on each plate. To serve family-style, lay injeras to cover a large platter and then scoop dishes onto the platter. Diners all eat from this main dish. Cut any remaining injera in half, roll up and serve in a plate on the side as extras.

Injera Variations

  • Using Wild Yeast: In Ethiopia, injera is made without packaged yeast. The initial batter is simply a mix of water and flour that uses wild yeasts that occur naturally in the air and in the flour. You can try this method at home if you like. Just eliminate the packaged yeast and skip step one.
  • Saving a Sourdough Starter: If you plan on making injera often, save back about 1/2 cup of the fermented batter as a starter and store it in the refrigerator. Feed it once or twice a week by removing and discarding 1/4 cup of the batter, then stirring in 2 tablespoons of flour and a 2 tablespoons of water. To use, first let the starter come to room temperature. Then mix it with 3 1/2 cups of flour and 3 1/2 cups of water and proceed with the recipe above, eliminating the packaged yeast.
  • Flour for Injera: There are three main varieties of teff flour available to make injera with different colors and flavor: nech (white), kay (red) and tikur (black). You can also make injera with whole wheeat flour, barley flour, rice flour, buckwheat flour, cornmeal or a mixture of two or more flours. Experiment!

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