Injera or enjera, as it is popularly known, is a soft and spongy pancake like bread enjoyed by the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Similar variants of the bread are enjoyed in various parts of Africa and other parts of the globe. Normally, the flour churned from teff grains is used in the preparation of the dish. These grains grow well at the grasslands of Ethiopia. The teff practically void of any form of gluten, which makes fermentation a little difficult affair. But teff can gel well with yeast which imparts soft, bubbly and airy texture to the bread.
The Ethiopians and Eritreans who migrated to United States and other parts of the world have substituted teff grains with the other available grains. The Injera sold across may of the East African restaurants in US, are normally prepared using the wheat flour.
In Eritrea and Ethiopia, this spongy bread is normally arranged on tray with stews. This bread is eaten with meats, salads and vegetable stews. The spongy bread serves as the edible table cloth for eating other foods, and when this unusually soft cloth vanishes, it is a signal that the meal is over.
Injera Recipe- Ingredients Prescribed
Teff is the main ingredient used for preparing injera. However, the teff flour is considered to be nutritious in all senses; but owing to the vicious needs of enhanced nutrition many of the East African households have started preparing the bread with mixture of various grains such as wheat, barley, etc. In some of the Eritrean cookbooks, the recipe suggests substituting teff with 1 part maize flour and 3 parts self raising flour.
Other than the teff flour, sourdough starter, water, salt, and vegetable oil are the common ingredients used in the preparation of bread.
Injera Recipe- Preparation
The batter for bread is prepared by mixing teff flour with water and salt. The batter is left to ferment for about 3 days at a stretch. The bread preparation takes place only when the batter becomes bubbly. Normally sourdough starter is used for the preparation of the bread which imparts a lovely tangy flavor to injera. The choice of flour and amount of time taken to ferment a batter depends may largely vary as per one’s taste preferences. The time taken for fermenting batter can be reduced depending on the preferences.
The bread is normally prepared by pouring the batter over the skillet. When prepared, the bread more or less resembles the French crepe and Indian Dosai. However, the bread is thicker than crepe but thinner than most of the other pancakes. The bottom surface of the bread is softer and top surface is porous which makes it good to be enjoyed with any soup, sauce, stew or salad. In many of the East African countries injera is normally eaten in lunch.