Ethiopian cuisine is one of my absolute favourites. I love everything about it. I love the wonderful flavours, and the fact that it is a sharing meal so I can try many different dishes. I even love the fact that you basically get to use the pancake to eat with instead of a fork. -Eating with my fingers is always fun.-
There is only one thing that makes going out for Ethiopian food difficult… the fact that it is pretty darn spicy and at the moment I live with children who seem to melt from the tiniest bit of heat. What is a foodie to do?
The answer, of course, is learn to cook Ethiopian food at home!
The base of all Ethiopian meals is injera. Injera is a spongy sourdough pancake that is made out of teff. And teff is a gluten free seed that has a rich, nutty flavour. With that very brief primer taken care of, let’s launch into the recipe.
- 1½ cups of teff flour
- 2 cups water
- Remaining Ingredients
- ½ tsp salt
- vegetable oil (for frying)
- Mix the teff and water, and leave it somewhere warm to ferment for 1-3 days. It should develop a nice bubbly starter pretty quickly.
- When ready to cook, add salt to taste (about ½ tsp).
- Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat and lightly oil.
- Put in a small amount of batter, then turn the skillet around so that it forms a thin pancake (though not as thin as a crepe).
- Cook slowly on one side until it has firmed up. It is traditionally only cooked on one side, and it is supposed to be quite wet and soft.
- Cool, then store rolled up or flat between layers of wax paper to keep them from sticking.
- Serve with Ethiopian dishes on top. Eat by scooping up the stews with bite-size pieces of injera.
-My starter was frothy within 24 hours. I actually left it for 3 days and found the sour flavour too strong. Teff naturally contains a symbiotic yeast, so watch your starter as it may activate very quickly!
-If you can’t find teff, or if the teff is very expensive then you can replace it with wheat. Often restaurants will replace up to 1/2 the teff in their bread with wheat flour.
-I found it very hard to make large thin pancakes, probably because I don’t have the right kind of pan. I just need to sneak into the kitchen at one of my local Ethiopian restaurants to figure out what they are doing. In the meantime, I just made smaller, easier to maneuver pancakes.
Shiro wat is my favourite Ethiopian dish.
It is also incredibly easy to make, so if you plan on experimenting with injera you should definitely make shiro wat to go with it! The easiest way to make shiro wat is to head down to your local Ethiopian grocer and buy shiro powder and add some onion and garlic. Unfortunately I couldn’t find shiro powder anywhere on my Island, so I just used chickpea flour. The flavour was still fairly similar to what I would get served in a restaurant, so it was a satisfying alternative.
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup chickpea flour
- 2 medium onions, pureed
- 1 roma tomato, pureed
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups of water
- 3 tablespoons berbere spice (see notes for alternatives)
- Salt, to taste
- Saute pureed onions in a dry pot until they start to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the oil and berbere spice. Saute for another 1-2 minutes until the spices are fragrant.
- Add tomato and garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes more.
- Whisk in the chickpea flour, fully coating in the oil, then gradually start to add the water, whisking constantly, like you were making a thickened sauce. Continue whisking until mixture is smooth.
- Heat until the mixture and simmer for 5-10 min.
- Finish with the butter and salt to taste, stirring until combined.
- Serve with fresh injera.
-Thank you to The Gourmet Gourmand for the recipe inspiration.
-We didn’t actually use berbere spice because we wanted to avoid the heat because we were serving this to several children. Instead my husband made a spice mix using this Epicurious recipe without any of the chiles. You could also replace it with a hot paprika, but it wouldn’t have the same depth of flavour.
This is another favourite Ethiopian dish that is made from cabbage and potatoes. It is absolutely delicious all on its own, or served with injera.
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ head cabbage, shredded
- Saute the carrots and onion for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric and cabbage. Cook another 10 minutes until spices are fragrant and the cabbage is wilted with most of its liquid boiled off.
- Add in the potatoes, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook with the lid on the pot until potatoes are soft, 20 to 30 minutes.
-Thanks to Epicurious for the original recipe.