Friday, May 1, 2009
Once again, the Bread Baking Babes have offered an interesting bread baking challenge for their buddies. This time it is Injera bread, an Ethiopian staple, chosen by the hostess-du-mois, Mary.
It so happens that I love injera bread, having tasted it at a variety of Ethiopian restaurants. Actually, I really like Ethiopian cuisine. In Los Angeles, there are several establishments on Fairfax Avenue. I've been to two of those, plus another in New York City. I love the use of spices in both the meat and vegetable dishes.
My first task for this challenge was to locate teff flour, the prime ingredient for injera. I sent my daughter out to the local health food store, and she returned with Teff Grain. Close, but no cigar. I called around, discovering that the nearest Whole Foods, 40 minutes away, had some in stock. It turned out that my dear neighbor was heading to the Valley the next day (that's the San Fernando Valley), which meant she would be passing right by Whole Foods. She kindly agreed to stop in and get the teff flour for me. (She's great!)
The next step was to plan the fermenting schedule, since I had to work over the weekend. I planned to have the mixture ready for Thursday. Note that I planned well for the injera, but not the accompanying meal. Because I had some berbere seasoning remaining from a previous cooking event, I did make Doro Wat, but as for side dishes, well . . . . next time.
Mary's instructions were right on the mark. The fermenting mixture gives off an interesting odor, strong enough that the dog kept searching for the source. It was funny to see her wandering through the house, nose in the air, sniffing for this interesting smell. Trying to describe it, I would liken it to a cross between olives and Tacoma, Washington. No offense to Tacoma, but the wood processing industry does have a unique scent. As a child, I would always plug my nose when we drove through town.
Cooking is easy, since it's just like making pancakes. Luckily, the cooked injera tastes way better than it smells!
First one out of the pan:
Somewhere in the middle:
Bite-sized piece of injera and spicy chicken:
I'm thrilled to have a new bread in my repertoire, even if it does require a bit of planning ahead of time. Having an authentic Ethiopian meal at home seems like a great idea for an enjoyable social evening.