How to Make Injera

Every Ethiopian I know says that Injera, the tangy crepe like bread that is the foundation for most meals, is an addiction. Once it becomes part of your daily diet, it’s very hard to go without it. Usually families will make one big batch a few times a week. The Injera can stand at room temperature but must be wrapped to prevent them from drying out.

In Ethiopia, Injera is most often made with teff flour and there are over 40 different varieties still grown. Teff is a gluten free grain and it is becoming more readily available ground as flour outside Ethiopia. But Ethiopian Injera is not only made with teff. Regional variations are made with maize, sorghum, millet, barley and wheat flours. Outside Ethiopia, many Ethiopian commonly make Injera with wheat flour. Each flour lends its own flavor, so this recipe is very open for experimentation.

This is a basic recipe for teff Injera using an open ferment- meaning that it captures the wild yeasts and bacteria in the air. Plan for the process to take about three days. Possibly shorter if the weather is very warm. You can speed up the process by adding a pinch of yeast.

Ingredients

Teff Flour             1 ½ Cups

Salt                            Pinch

Water                      2 Cups

Yeast                        Optional

Cooking Oil          For greasing the pan

Equipment

Ethiopians use a mitad which is essentially a large frying pan with cover

Make a batter by mixing together flour, salt and water in a large bowl. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Stir gently a few times each day. After two days the mixture should start to bubble- if it’s not, add a pinch of yeast. When it’s good and bubbly and has a fermented aroma, usually in three days time, it’s ready. The batter should be thick and pour-able. You can add more water if you need to thin it.

To make the Injera. Prepare the biggest frying pan you have, by heating it and spreading a thin layer of cooking oil on the surface with a cloth or brush. Using a cup, pour the batter in a circle around the circumference of the pan spiraling inward and tilting the pan to spread it thin (like you would make a crepe.) Then, quickly put a cover on the pan. I use an inverted bowl. Ideally you want something with a dome to capture the steam, which helps cook the top surface. In Ethiopia a special electric pan called a Mit’tat is used. But you can do it just fine without one. After about 2-3 minutes carefully lift the cover (it will be hot) and check the Injera. It should have bubbles formed all over the surface. When the batter is cooked through, carefully peel the Injera off the pan and stack on a clean plate covering with a damp towel. Continue until all the batter is used up. Keep the Injera stacked, and covered with plastic. They will last up to three days, the flavor getting stronger each day.