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Injera
General Description
Handling/Eating Instruction
Injera - Googlism
Injera Recipe
Teff
Teff
Teff - Googlism
Teff farmers in US

Injera is the Ethiopian staple bread (staple = a principal dietary item, such as flour, rice, or corn) its thin crepe like flat bread that the dishes such as Wots, Tibs and Fitfit are served on. To eat the dishes pieces of injera are torn off and used to scoop up mouthful.

Injera is unique to Ethiopia, from its distinct taste and main ingredient the Teff cereal. Teff is the tiniest cereal and used as a staple food only in Ethiopia (in other parts of the world its associated with common grass). Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC.

Injera preparation usually takes two to three days, the teff is milled into powder then mixed in water along yeast and small quantity of flowers. This mix is set aside at room temperature for 2 days so it ferments and raises. During the second day it starts to give tangy aromas as the fermentation releases air bubbles; this is where the Injera's slight tangy taste comes from.

After the fermentation process is finished the mix is cooked on hot flat iron pan called 'Mitad'. A circular motion is used to achieve thin consistency. When the hot pan and the fermented teff mix/batter contact thousands of tiny air bubbles escape, creating thousands of tiny craters/eyes - creating the familiar look of Injera.

The side touching the hot mitad pan gets its flat look, while the one facing away towards the air has the a porous structure with thousands of mini craters. This pour us structure allows the injera to be a good bread to scoop up sauces and dishes.

Restaurants will serve your dishes on injera and they bring a side dish of injera for scooping purposes either rolled up or folded. When you are about to finish your side injera attentive wait staff will bring your more free of charge.

Teff - tiniest cereal
Teff is one of the smallest grains in the world, measuring only about 1/32 of an inch in diameter. Approximately 150 grains equal the size of a kernel of wheat. Teff is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition and lysine levels. One cup of cooked teff contains 387 milligrams of calcium (40 percent of the USRDA, which is more than milk), 15 milligrams of iron (100 percent of the USRDA and twice as much iron as wheat and barley). Teff is high in protein as well as fiber. A rich source of boron, copper, phosphorus, zinc.

Eating with Injera - Handling Instructions
Starting Note:
- Side A = With Holes
- Side B = Flat & Without Holes
- Use one hand (left/right - ok)

1. Tear of a small piece (size of your palm)
2. Side A - side with holes is the one that contacts with the sauce/meat
3. Scoop/Grab sauce or meat with the injera (similar to Indian/Middle Eastern eating)
4. Use your fingers to control; so pieces won't fall down as you put the scoop your mouth
5. It's ok to grab/sample more than one sauce or dish on each scoop-trip
6. Finally you can proceed to eat the bottom/table cloth injera where the sauce was first served, by now it soaked with all the tasty juices and is full of flavors
 

Side Note: Gursha / Act of feeding fellow diners by hand
Ethiopians (less practiced outside Ethiopia) often hand feed their guests, or guests of honors during dinner/lunch. This is to show respect(often it grabs foreigners by surprise) sometimes the person receiving the Gursha responds in kind and in turn feeds his feeder. Often gurshas are much larger than the regular scoop due to tradition, so you might find your mouth full from front to back. It's ok to decline a Gursha if you are uncomfortable, people won't take offense from this.

Parting Thought:
- Feel free to ask for a demonstration from your waiter/waitress
- Be ready to make a few mistakes often most get the process down after 4-5 scoop-trips.

Injera Recipe
 
 
 
99% Teff & 1% Self-Rising - No Preservatives or Oil

Serving for 2 people, yields 5 to 6 Injera...
99% Teff, 1% Self Rising Yeast *

1 lb - of Teff Flour
3 cups of luke warm water
1 teaspoon of yeast *
- a large bowl, for mixing
- large pancake pan, for baking

1. Mix by hand, 1lb of Teff with 3 cups of water along with 1 teaspoon of yeast.

2. Set aside overnight (24 hrs) outside. For fermentation to take place.
 
3. Preheat pan, and leave on low fire/heat during baking.
4. Bake in a circular motion, same as a pancake. Only heated on one side, takes about 2 minutes.

5. Take injera out carefully (hot) and set aside on a plate to cool down before eating.

* If this is your first batch of injera, use the teaspoon of yeast; but if you plan to make injera regularly... then save about 3 soup spoons of the mix for your next injera. This will act as a self rising yeast on your next batch of injera; save it in your fridge it will stay for over a month. This is the same process of saving some of your current dough for your next batch of sour dough cakes or cookies.

 

Injera Quick Notes:
- Ethiopians' staple bread
- made from Teff cereal (Eragrostis tef)
- soft, spongy texture, with tiny holes (fermentation eyes)
- tangy, slightly-sour taste
- used as utensil to scoop up sauces & meat
- dishes are served on top[injera] similar to a table cloth
- folded injera for scooping is provided on a side dish
- non-Ethiopians sometimes mistake it for a napkin =)





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