Ethiopian cuisine is one of my absolute favorites. I love everything about it. The wonderful flavors, the fact that it is a sharing meal so I can try many different dishes. I even love eating with teff injera instead of a fork!
Eating with your fingers is always fun!
There is only one thing that makes going out for Ethiopian food difficult… the fact that I can’t find anywhere that makes injera without wheat. What is a gluten-free foodie to do?
The answer, of course, is to learn to cook Ethiopian food at home!
What is teff injera?
Teff injera is an important part of Ethiopian cuisine.
- Injera is a spongy sourdough pancake, traditionally made from teff.
- Teff is a gluten-free seed with a rich, nutty flavor. It has a natural, symbiotic relationship with yeast. So it sourdough ferments very quickly. Seriously, it only takes 6 to 24 hours for a bubbly ferment. (See photo below).
- In restaurants, injera is served as a giant pancake topped with various stew-like dishes. Small pieces of injera are used to pick up the stews and eat.
Dishes to serve with injera
Here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with injera. Some of these are traditional Ethiopian dishes, while others are not.
- Misir Wat: a spiced red lentil stew.
- Shiro Wat: a simple stew made from chickpea flour and spices (in the photo below).
- Fasolia: a green beans and carrots dish.
- Goman Wot: a spinach stew.
- Simple Spiced Cabbage and Potatoes: a vegetable stew made with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes (in the photo below).
- Turmeric Spiced Sauerkraut is not traditional. However, the flavors offer a nice addition to an Ethiopian meal.
Teff Injera -Ethiopian Flatbread
Teff injera is a naturally fermented flatbread. Injera has a deliciously nutty and sourdough flavor that compliments traditional Ethiopian stews. See the section above for links to a few traditional Ethiopian stew recipes.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4-6 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Sourdough
- Cuisine: Ethiopian
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1 1/2 cups of teff flour
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg (optional, see notes)
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- Mix the teff and water in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Leave it somewhere warm to ferment for 6-24 hours. It should develop into a nice bubbly starter pretty quickly. Stir once or twice during the ferment.
- When you are ready to cook the injera, beat in one egg and add salt, to taste.
- Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat and brush on some oil.
- Put in a small amount of batter into the center of the skillet, 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 the injera is set. Injera is traditionally cooked only on one side. It is supposed to be quite wet and soft on the other side. However, if you want to cook both sides, make smaller pancakes and flip them.
- Serve injera right away, or allow them to cool before stacking to keep them from sticking.
- Look for teff flour in African grocery stores, in the gluten-free area of a health food store, or online.
- Traditional recipes don’t use an egg. However, it is difficult to prevent injera from sticking to the pan and falling apart without some sort of binder. Most restaurants replace up to 1/2 the teff in their injera with wheat flour, which provides the necessary structure. I added an egg for a 100% teff recipe. If you want to make it egg-free, then no replacement for the egg is necessary. Either make small pancakes or replace 1/2 of the teff with wheat flour.
- To make really large injera you need to invest in an injera pan. Otherwise, just make smaller injera in a frying pan.
- See the section above for links to my favorite Ethiopian stews.