Deniz and I love Ethiopian food. Something about it, we just can’t help ourselves, we keep going back for more. Ethiopian food cannot be eaten without injera, so learning to make injera became a small goal of ours. It’s not easy to get the taste and texture right. And teff flour isn’t easy to find. And then it takes 3 days for the yeast to ferment, so it’s not something we attempt lightly. We tried to make it in Japan, but the boiling hot summer weather lead to some weird purplish substance growing in the injera that we were too scared to eat, so we had been reluctant to try again. Moving to Hawaii, we realized the weather’s ideal for fermenting injera. After many trials, we were able to get the recipe in Cooking with Imaye: Second Edition Ethiopian Cuisine Straight from Mom’s Kitchen to work, with some modifications. Below is our injera recipe! It takes 3 days to make, so make sure to prepare it in advance of when you want to eat it!
- 1½ lb mixture of teff flour and all purpose flour mix. Recommend 1 lb teff flour and 1/2 lb all purpose flour mix.
- 3½ t yeast
- 6 c of filtered water + 3 T warm water
- 2 c boiling water + ½ c water
- 1 c all purpose flour
- salt, to taste
Pour the flour into a large bowl. Add the 6 c filtered water a little at a time while mixing with a large spoon to form a liquid dough. Dissolve the yeast with the 3 T warm water (separately) and then add to the dough. Mix well. Cover and let sit for 3 days. If you cover with saran wrap, make sure to puncture enough holes to allow the off-gas to escape.
Water will collect at the top of the mixture. Do not mix it in. After 3 days, carefully extract this water out with a ladle or syringe and discard it.
Bring 2 c of water to a boil in a small pot on the stove. Take 1 c of the liquid dough and whisk briskly it into the boiled water. Return to a boil while continuing to whisk until the mix thickens. Add the hot mixture back into the liquid dough and stir well to combine. This step is called “ob-seet” and will rev up the bubbles for cooking the injera later in the day. Then add the remaining ½ c water and stir well to combine. Let sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. You can store it in the refrigerator for several days like this.
If desired, set aside a cup of batter in a jar in the fridge to use as a starter for your next injera.
When you’re ready to cook the injera, heat a non-stick skillet on medium low. Once the skillet is hot, give the batter a stir. Stir in 1 c of all purpose flour.
Pour a ladle-full (½ c) of batter in to the heated skillet in a circular motion, starting at the outer edges and working your way to the center. Let the injera cook, undisturbed for 2½ or so minutes, covering the skillet after 1 minute. Holes will form on top and the injera will rise. If the edges are starting to curl up and look dry, the injera is most likely done. If the edges are not yet curling up, give the injera another minute or two to cook. Don’t flip the injera over. Just before the injera is done cooking, sprinkle salt on it. Using a couple of large non-stick spatulas, lift the injera gently off the skillet and set it on a wooden cutting board or a large flat basket to cool. The sponginess of the injera will form as it is cooling, so do not fold or roll the injera or place it upside down while cooling.
Pour the next injera onto the skillet and let it cook. By the time it is done, the previous injera will be cool enough that you can roll the previous one up. Roll up each injera into a cylinder and cut diagonally in half. Repeat until all the batter is cooked.