Thursday, December 24, 2009

Injera-inspired Ethiopian Crepe

I wanted to experiment with an unusual crepe for the holidays, and noticed that injera,the Ethiopian flatbread made with teff, would be fun to try. I read the recipe and decided to do a few modifications because I didn't have any teff. A recipe online mentioned using a cup of regular buttermilk pancake mix and buckwheat mix in equal proportion with water to thin it out. I didn't have the buckwheat flour, so I substituted with almond flour.

The process of making Injera requires fermentation, about three days, and I didn't have that either, so I made the batter immediately, hoping for the best! The challenge of making injera is thinning out the batter so it will bubble all over, stopping the frying midway and putting the crepe in the oven to finish cooking - about 1 minute - so that the crepe becomes spongey, not fried. I changed that too, deciding to broil the top for a minute instead.

My boys came over, so they ate these without any filling - just gobbled them down. But, I saved one and filled it with sliced beef from the deli, and some vegetables - with Turkish Shawarma seasoning. Shawarma is a middle-eastern sandwich, like a gyro, and anything can go in them. So, that is ultimately what I got, an injera-inspired Ethiopian Crepe with Turkish spices.

This is how it looked, for lunch.

I'll go to Marlene's for teff and buckwheat flour, so I can pull all of this off more authentically. But, for now, I'll include the proceedures here, because when I get time this will be my next experiment. (The cooking process here is a little different):

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ground teff
  • 2 cups water
  • salt, to taste
  • vegetable oil, for the skillet

Directions

  1. Mix ground teff with the water and let stand in a bowl covered with a dish towel at room temperature until it bubbles and has turned sour; This may take as long as 3 days, although I had success with an overnight fermentation; The fermenting mixture should be the consistency of a very thin pancake batter.
  2. Stir in the salt, a little at a time, until you can barely detect its taste.
  3. Lightly oil an 8 or 9 inch skillet (or a larger one if you like); Heat over medium heat.
  4. Pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the skillet; About 1/4 cup will make a thin pancake covering the surface of an 8 inch skillet if you spread the batter around immediately by turning and rotating the skillet in the air; This is the classic French method for very thin crepes; Injera is not supposed to be paper thin so you should use a bit more batter than you would for crepes, but less than you would for a flapjack pancakes.
  5. Cook briefly, until holes form in the injera and the edges lift from the pan; Do not let it brown, and don't flip it over as it is only supposed to be cooked on one side.
  6. Remove and let cool. Place plastic wrap or foil between successive pieces so they don't stick together.
  7. To serve, lay one injera on a plate and ladle your chosen dishes on top (e.g., a lovely doro wat or alicha). Serve additional injera on the side. Guests can be instructed to eat their meal without utensils, instead using the injera to scoop up their food.

1 comment:

Ruhiyyih Rose said...

I went often to an Ethiopian place in DC - I LOVED it. That bread is very bland, but it pairs so well with a lamb, beef, or potato side that you eat it with your hands. YUM!