Injera Recipe – Traditional Ethiopian Teff Bread

 

Ever since I’ve eaten the delicious Eritrean food served up in the Adulis restaurant in London, I’ve wanted to homecook some of this part of Africa’s amazing cuisine.

Injera with dark teff flour
Of particular interest of course was the soft, spongy, sour flatbread called injera. Injera has a distinctive porous texture. It serves as food, plate and eating utensil all at the same time as it lines the serving dishes on which tasty meat and vegetable stews are presented. Injera soaks up the flavours and scoops up the juices.

Injera Roll

What is Injera?

  • The national bread of Ethiopia and Eritrea, where it is served with almost every meal.
  • A flatbread made by pouring fermented pancake-like batter on a hot surface.
    Injera batter should be made at least a day ahead (up to three days in advance) – to ferment at room temperature. Injera will become more sour, the longer you leave it.
    No yeast is added.
  • It’s traditionally made with teff flour.
    Teff is a tiny grain which grows in the grasslands of Ethiopia. It’s nutritious, high in fibre and minerals (particularly calcium) and gluten free.
    White and brown teff flours are available, however they come at a cost  and are not easy to find.
  • Injera is best made on a special stove or clay plate called mitad or mogogo placed over a fire. If you don’t have this, you should be okay with a non-stick frying pan (make sure the surface is completely smooth and not scratched) or a cast-iron wok.  You’ll also need to have a tight-fitting lid for your pan.

It’s taken me quite a bit of practice to get the injera batter right, so don’t get disheartened if your first few attempts are not perfect!

Injera dark teff flour

Ingredients –

  • Sourdough starter
  • 400g teff flour (white or dark or a mix – I used dark teff flour here)
  • Water, lukewarm
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

How to make injera –

DAY 1

  • Mix 2 tbsp of your sourdough starter (mine is a rye/wheat sourdough starter) with 50g teff flour and 50g lukewarm water.
  • Cover and leave at room temperature.

DAY 2

  • Add another 50g teff flour and 50g lukewarm water
  • Cover and leave at room temperature.
Teff flour starter after the second feed
Teff flour starter after the second feed
Teff flour injera batter before the final fermentation
Teff flour injera batter before the final fermentation

DAY 3

  • Add the remaining teff flour (300g) and – while stirring – slowly add water until you get a pancake-like batter. The batter should be smooth and coat the back of a spoon like thick double cream. If the batter is too thin, the bubbles won’t be able to form and the dough will crack whilst cooking. If the batter is too thick, it won’t look like traditional injera, more like a heavy lump of fried bread.
  • The amount of water you will depend on the consistency of your starter and on the type of flour you use… so adjust as necessary.
  • Ferment again at room temperature: cover and let stand for 4 hours.
  • Once the final fermentation is complete, add the salt and stir to dissolve.
  • I don’t have a mittad and therefore use a non-stick frying pan.
  • Place your frying pan over a medium heat. Don’t allow the frying pan to get too hot.
  • Pour a layer of batter into the pan. Start pouring the batter in a swirling circle from the outside of the pan. Move gradually inward until the bottom of the pan is completely covered. Tilt and swirl the pan to distribute evenly.
  • Allow to cook for 30 seconds or until just set, then cover the pan with a lid for another minute or two. Holes will appear on the surface, the top will fully set and the edges will begin to curl. Don’t turn and don’t allow to brown.
  • Carefully transfer to a clean kitchen towel or plate, then move on to the next one.
  • You can place them on top of each other. They tend to be very sticky when warm, but become easy to handle once they reach room temperature.

Injera Rolled

Serve with spicy East African meat and vegetable stews. I made these versions of Doro Wat and Kik Alicha. Use your hands to tear and scoop!

Garnish with lime, black olives, tomatoes.

If you plan to make injera regularly, save a few tablespoons of the starter and refrigerate in a jar. If you keep teff starter in the fridge, a very dark watery liquid will gather on top. Discard this black-ish liquid before you use your starter again.

  • Your injera looks much better than when i made it. I think the sourdough starter is a great idea!

     
    • paemsn

      Thanks Janet! It’s taken a while to get there 🙂 Cultivating a vibrant sourdough starter has been really key for achieving both the spongy texture and brilliantly sour taste.

       
  • Emma

    Loved the injera and the ethiopian stew you recommended (doro wat) with it. My husband really loved the tang that the sourdough gave to the pancakes. Really good recipe, a bit of a labour of love (I made all from scratch, incl the Berbere spice) but well worth the effort. Pleased to have found the ideal way to use my teff flour. Now I need to think about my sorghum flour and what I could do with that! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes you have posted (my pumpernickel is in its last 24h of maturing before being sliced into!)

     
    • paemsn

      Hi Emma, thank you for sharing your comments and great to hear the injera recipe worked well for you! I’ve not yet baked with sorghum flour, let me know what you’ll bake with it. Pam

       
  • paemsn

    Hello and thanks for your comment!
    I’ve been working on this recipe for quite a while now. Every time I’m tasting injera in an Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant, I’m trying to improve my own recipe.
    I have used a teff flour sour to prepare the injera, so it should actually have a sour taste. Should it be thinner than in the photos? The injera I’ve had is quite soft and spongy and not super thin. Appreciate your input – thanks!

     
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  • Ben Skinner

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve been trying like mad to introduce my sister and nephew to new things, with little success. I convinced her to pick up a pound of teff recently, and you may have saved us from another of my bizarre concoctions. A traditional recipe such as this may well be the proper answer. I’ll pipe in once we’ve tried it. Thanks again!

     
    • paemsn

      Hi Ben, thanks for your note! Good luck with the injera process, hope it all goes well and your sister and nephew will enjoy it 🙂 Best, Pam