Injera

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Injera
Alicha 1.jpg
This meal, consisting of injera and several kinds of wat or tsebhi (stew), is typical of Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine.
Origin
Place of origin Ethiopia, Eritrea[1]
Details
Type Flatbread
Main ingredient(s) Teff flour (or sometimes wheat, barley, corn or rice flour)
Variations Canjeero, Lahoh, Kisra

Injera (Amharic: ənǧära እንጀራ [ɨndʒəra]; sometimes transliterated as enjera; or "taita" Tigrinya: ጣይታ)[2] is an East African sourdough-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff flour,[3] it is a national dish in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Ingredients and cooking method

Different varieties of injera rolls at a restaurant in Addis Ababa.

Injera is usually made from the tiny, iron-rich teff. However, teff production is limited to certain middle elevations and regions with adequate rainfall, so it is relatively expensive for the average household. As many farmers in the Ethiopian highlands grow their own subsistence grains, wheat, barley, corn, and/or rice flour are sometimes used to replace some or all of the teff content. Teff flour is gluten free, therefore Injera that's made only with teff flour and water is gluten free and has higher demand. There are also different varieties of injera in Ethiopia, such as nech (white), kay (red), and sergegna (mixed).

In making injera, teff flour is mixed with water and allowed to ferment for several days, as with sourdough starter. As a result of this process, injera has a mildly sour taste. The injera is then ready to be baked into large, flat pancakes. This is done either on a specialized electric stove, or more commonly, on a clay plate (known as mittad (Amharic) or mogogo (Tigrinya)) placed over a fire. Unusual for a yeast or sourdough bread, the dough has sufficient liquidity to be poured onto the baking surface, rather than rolled out. In terms of shape, injera compares to the French crêpe and the Indian dosa as a flatbread cooked in a circle and used as a base for other foods. The taste and texture, however, are unlike the crêpe and dosa, and more similar to the South Indian appam. The bottom surface of the injera, which touches the heating surface, will have a relatively smooth texture, while the top will become porous. This porous structure allows the injera to be a good bread to scoop up sauces and dishes.

Consumption and contemporary use

Ethiopian injera with typical spongy texture.

In Eritrea and Ethiopia, a variety of stews, or sometimes salads (during Ethiopian Orthodox fasting, for which believers abstain from most animal products) and simply more injera (called injera firfir), are placed upon the injera for serving. Using one's right hand, small pieces of injera are torn and used to grasp the stews and salads for eating. The injera under these stews soaks up the juices and flavours of the foods, and after the stews and salads are gone, this bread is also consumed. Injera is thus simultaneously food, eating utensil, and plate. When the entire "tablecloth" of injera is gone, the meal is over.

In Eritrea and Ethiopia, injera is eaten daily in virtually every household. Preparing injera requires considerable time and resources; . The bread is cooked on a large, black clay plate over a fire. This set-up is a stove called a mitad (ምጣድ) (in Amharic) or mogogo (ሞጎጎ) (in Tigrinya), which is difficult to use, produces large amounts of smoke, and can be dangerous to children. Because of this inefficient cooking method, much of the area's limited fuel resources are wasted. However, in 2003, a research group designed a stove, which uses available fuel sources (including dung, locally called kubet) for cooking injera and other foods efficiently, saving the heat from the fuel.[4] This cooking method was intended for designing a new type of stove.[5] Several parts are made in the central cities of each country,[clarification needed] while other parts are molded from clay by women in local areas. However, many women in urban areas now use electric injera stoves, which are topped with a large metal plate. In the United States, injera is most often made on an electric Bethany lefse. Outside of the Horn of Africa, injera may be found in grocery stores and restaurants specializing in Eritrean, and Ethiopian cooking.

To the left: An injera stove, to the right: Fresh baked injera

Variations

There are similar variants to injera in other East African countries like Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. The variant eaten in Somalia and Djibouti (where it is called canjeero or lahooh), South Sudan and Sudan (where it is known as kisra).[6] In Somalia, at lunch (referred to as qaddo), the main meal of the day, injera (known as canjeero) might also be eaten with a stew (maraq) or soup.[7] Canjeero, the Somali and the Djiboutian version of injera, is a staple of Somali and Djiboutian cuisine.[8] [9]

See also

References

  1. Cauvain, Stanley P.; Young, Linda S. (2009). The ICC Handbook of Cereals, Flour, Dough & Product Testing: Methods and Applications. DEStech Publications, Inc. p. 216. ISBN 1932078991. Injera is the fermented pancake-like flatbread, which originated in Ethiopia and neighbouring countries.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Tesfai, Tekie (2011). ዘመናዊ መዝገበ ቓላት ትግርኛ (in Tigrinya) (2nd ed.). Asmara: Hidri Publishers. p. 1083. ISBN 978-9994801039. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Science of Bread: Ethiopian injera recipe
  4. Ashden awards: injera bread stove
  5. Pictures of the improved Injera stoves
  6. Burdett, Avani (2012). Burdett's Delicatessen Recipes. Springwood emedia. ISBN 1476144621.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  8. "Somali Anjero (Canjeero) « Vegan Recipes « Vegan Magic". vegan-magic.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2015-10-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Cauvain, Stanley P.; Young, Linda S. (2007). Technology of Breadmaking. Springer. p. 225. ISBN 0387385657.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links