AVERY’S BLOOMINGTON BITES – INJERA


Musical pairing – True Colors by Eva Cassidy

Being home with my family means eating a wide variety of food. In a given week we’ll often eat Indian food and make pizza, get some hummus and tabbouli, and perhaps some gelato to round things out. Though none of us would refuse a good helping of (veggie, in my case) burgers and fries, we seem, overall, to have more of an international bent than a domestic one.

Which is where I catch myself. For though all of the different cuisines we enjoy may originally hail from far-flung corners of the earth, we are easily able to have each one right here at home. It’s not necessary for us to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to savor chana masala or pitas made fresh that morning; we aren’t restricted to steak and potatoes or apple pie. So when my mom and I made a trip to Emanu, a nearby Ethiopian restaurant, it felt in many ways a more fitting honoring of Memorial Day than had we grilled hot dogs and made potato salad and corn on the cob. The freedom to try new things, to embrace other cultures and places, to find beauty and excitement (and deliciousness!) in what is at first foreign, different, and unknown, is my favorite part of being American.

But on a less lofty note, there’s also the simple fact that I never did like a hot dog nearly as much as I like Ethiopian food. At first strange, the porous, almost slightly sour and spongy bread– called injera– quickly became something I developed a passion for, and the manner of eating is also as fun as it is delectable. A large circle of injera is laid out with dollops of different stew-like toppings placed on top. We sampled a kale and onion topping as well as roasted carrots and green beans, potatoes and lentils, lentils and tomatoes, and sauteed cabbage. Each was as flavorful and unexpected as the next, and delicious wrapped in the spongey injera. So next time you’re feeling tired of your usual patriotic favorites, or maybe just the next time you’re feeling patriotic, try a new cuisine, or try your hand at making injera.

INJERA
Sundays at Moosewood
serves 3

  • 1-3/4 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread flour
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 1 tbsp)
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD:

  1. Combine the flours and yeast in a ceramic or glass bowl. Add the warm water and mix into a fairly thin, smooth batter. Let the mixture sit for three full days at room temperature. Stir the mixture once a day. It will bubble and rise.
  2. When you are ready to make the injera, add the baking soda and salt and let the batter sit or 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a small, nonstick, 9-inch skillet. When a drop of water bounces on the pan’s surface, take about 1/3 cup of the batter and pour it in the skillet quickly, all at once. Swirl the pan so that the entire bottom is evenly coated, then return to the heat.
  4. The injera is cooked on only one side and the bottom should not brown. When the moisture has evaporated and lots of “eyes” appear on the surface, remove the injera. Let each injera cool and then stack them as you go along.
  5. If the first injera is undercooked, try using less of the mixture, perhaps 1/4 cup, and maybe cook it just a bit longer. Be sure not to overcook it. Injera should be soft and pliable so that it can be rolled or folded, like a crêpe.

9 Comments

  1. I always think that injera tastes like spongy sourdough. We have an Ethiopian place near us, and we LOVE it. We always order the large platter with all the small tastes of lots of different things. I think that would be a really great first date for someone.

  2. I’ve never had Ethiopian food, but would love to try it, especially injera – it sounds so interesting. Since I don’t travel much, I love cooking cuisines from all different countries, with the dream of visiting some of the places one day. That’s the magic of the home kitchen!

  3. Just noticed that the batter has to sit for 3 days 🙁 Can you tell how hungry this made me and how much I wanted to have it tonight? Anyway, I’ll have to wait….

  4. The best I have seen today….amazing pictures – made me so, so hungry – this is what I am making for dinner tonight….happy times!

    I am sure going to be a regular here

  5. Absolutely fantastic!!
    I love Indian food or recipes! Yeah!

  6. You’re so much more adventurous than me, Deb!! I love it. 🙂

  7. Now doesn’t that look fantastic! I went to Moosewoods years ago when I was looking at Ithaca College. For me, though, I would much prefer to cook their food at home than eat it at a restaurant. It’s just good ole home cookin’!

  8. I love Moosewoods. When my brother went to Ithaca College we use to eat there all the time!

  9. I had Ethiopian cuisine for the first time and I loved it! The vegetarian spread looks very similar to the one you showed there. I have made it my mission to recreate some of the dishes, and of course make my own Injera. Thanks for the recipe!

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