In an Ethiopian restaurant you will see some similarities with a South Indian restaurant. Fermented sourdough crepes similar to South Indian dosas, the aroma of spices similar to indian spices, an array of vegetarian and meat side dishes eaten along with the crepes, and all enjoyed using your trusted fingers :-). There is one difference though. In an Ethiopian restaurant the waitress encourages you to eat with your hands and brings silverware only if you ask for it. The Indian restaurant on the other hand brings you silverware by default and you are not really encouraged to use your hands.
Anyway, today's post is not about these similarities or differences, it is about the fermented sourdough crepes/flat breads or Injeras. They are made with a sourdough batter made with teff which is naturally fermented. Teff leads all the grains, by a wide margin in its calcium content. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient not commonly found in grains. Teff is high in resistant starch, a newly-discovered type of dietary fiber that can benefit blood-sugar management, weight control, and colon health. A gluten-free grain with a mild flavor, teff is a healthy and versatile ingredient for many gluten-free products. It’s been estimated that Ethiopians get about two-thirds of their dietary protein from teff. Many of Ethiopia’s famed long-distance runners attribute their energy and health to teff. So teff is indeed a super-food, without the hype (yet).
I browsed thru a lot of ethiopian recipes and videos to learn to make Injeras. They are generally made with teff flour and water mixed, and kept aside to ferment for a couple of days. I could only get whole teff and not the flour, so I decided to go the South Indian way to make the batter. I ground the teff with salt and water, and fermented it for 18-24 hours. I make my crepes just like how we make dosas. It can be served with any Indian style side dishes (preferably the drier varieties). I serve them with a side dish made of collard leaves which is very typical in African cuisines. I also serve them with South Indian style spicy fish curries which go really well with these crepes.
- Wholegrain Brown Teff - 1 cup
- Sea salt - as per taste
- Soak the teff in water for about 8-12 hours
- Drain and grind the teff with about 2 cups of water and sea salt. Grind till you get a fine batter like a dosa batter. (I use vitamix, but it should be easily done on any reasonably powdered blender)
- Keep aside in a warm place for about 18-24 hours to ferment. Once the batter is fermented, you will see the batter as risen, bubbly, and cracked.
- Heat a pan (non stick or cast iron) and pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of batter depending on how big is your pan.
- Either fill the batter in a thin layer to fill the whole area of the pan or just pour the batter in the middle and just tilt the pan to shape the crepe.
- Once you start seeing some bubbles or eyes on the crepe, cover the pan with a lid.
- When you start seeing a lot of steam coming thru the lid, remove the lid and slowly start removing the crepe from all sides.
- Don't flip the crepe, directly transfer to a pan. Roll up and keep stacking while you make the remaining crepes.
- Enjoy with your choice of side dishes!!