Friday, February 25, 2011

Injera Making


Sorry it's been so long. This web page would literally not open in the entire country of Ethiopia. How odd! Anyway, over the next week or so I will be posting about some of the things I learned, saw, and experienced in Ethiopia. For now, here is a video showing how to make injera. Injera, like bread ('khobs') in Morocco or rice in South India, is the staple in Ethiopia, and no meal would be complete without it. Most of the time, it is presented on a plate or platter and the food is poured on top, and everyone eats from the single plate. It is also common to roll it, cut it into thirds, and allow each person to choose their own, spread it out on their plate, and use it to eat. Ethiopians use this spongy pancake as their utensil, and I've heard even sometimes as a plate!

Injera has a very distinct flavor and smell. It is unlike most staples in that it is not a neutral flavor. Prepared simply with 'ttef flour, water, and homemade yeast, injera is mixed in mass (usually in a bucket) and sealed, then aged for three days. As it ferments, it becomes more liquidated, and the result is a watery liquid dough that is poured from a gourd (or now, sometimes just a cup or more widely manufactured device) onto the hot 'mettat', or injera maker. This large pan is generally powered by electricity or wood fire, and is often the only cooking device in the kitchen apart from a single kerosene burner. And everyone has one.

Many of the patterns of pouring are quite beautiful, and the injera begins to bubble almost immediately. It is then removed with a large, round straw mat, and placed into a straw basket designed to hold injera. The taste is definitely acquired for the foreigner; while I enjoyed most Ethiopian food, this was one thing I couldn't get use to. Sour, spongy, and often soggy from delicious sauces, injera may be unusual, but it is an irreplacable part of any Ethiopian experience, and any meal.

Here is the video of injera making. We made about fifteen or twenty of these at once!


And after its cooked, about three to five minutes.