Rev 0.29, last revised:  19-Feb-06

[Warning: This recipe is under development.  Steal at your own risk!]

Teff (Eragrostis tef), is a very tiny grain that is much smaller than a grain of wheat--about the size of a poppy seed.  Despite it's diminutive stature, it's the staple grain of Ethiopian cuisine and the culinary basis of all traditional Ethiopian cooking.  The main ingredient, Teff flour, becomes a pleasantly sour pancake-like bread known as, Injera. 

This nutritious flatbread literally underlies every Ethiopian meal.  When a Ethiopian diner sets the table, he or she lays down an Injera.  On top of this the main courses are arrayed, directly, without plates.  Other Injera breads are served on the side and torn into pieces to be used as grabbers for the food on the Injera "tablecloth."  When the meal has been consumed, you eat the tablecloth.  Which has by then become a delicious repository of the juices from the food that had been served upon it.

Ingredients (makes about 8, 8-inch Injera):

  1. About 10-12 hours before you want to eat Injera; mix half the Teff flour, water, and sourdough starter.  Allow to ferment at ~85F for 6-8 hours.  The fermenting mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter (which is exactly what it is).
  2. Watch the starter as it grows.  A point will be reached where the mixture begins to recede (stops expanding).  At that point, mix in the rest of the Teff flour and the salt, and leave the mixture out on the counter (at room temperature) until ready to be used--within the next few hours or so.
  3. Lightly oil (I prefer a bit of butter) an 8- or 9-inch skillet (or a larger one if you like).  Heat over medium heat.  Then proceed as you would with a normal pancake or crepe.  Pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the skillet.  About 1/4 cup will make a thin pancake covering the surface of an 8-inch skillet if you spread the batter around immediately by turning and rotating the skillet in the air.
    NB:  Injera is not supposed to be paper thin so you should use a bit more batter than you would for crepes, but less than you would for a flapjack.
  4. Cook briefly, until holes form in the Injera and the edges lift from the pan.  Remove and let cool.  This is NOT a pancake, you DO NOT flip it over...

Actual yield depends on size and thickness.  If you need more, increase the mixture proportionally next time.

Enjoy with Beef and Peppers, Ginger Vegetables, Lentils, Spicy Braised Chicken, or Siga Wot.

Nutrition-minded Americans have turned to Teff as a source of calcium, fiber, and protein.  It is also an alternative grain for people allergic to the gluten in wheat.  It has an appealing, sweet, molasses-like flavor, and it boils up into a gelatinous porridge.

For the traditional version, click here.