Like a Pancake

For Pancake Tuesday one week we made Ethiopian dishes to go with Injera which we all agreed is like a spongy pancake and therefore still in our party theme.  We had so much fun, I spaced taking any photos!

The first time we made Injera was for a festive Ethiopian dinner to help friends celebrate and share the anticipation of their adoption of a little boy from Ethiopia.  Already fans of the cuisine, we discovered that cooking our own was fun, not as hard as we imagined, and worth any extra effort.  And the little boy, a barrel of fun, has been worth all the hoopla, and then some.

My friend Tyler gave me the photocopy of this recipe he got from a friend now living in Amsterdam. So I'm not sure how many degrees of separation it travels from the motherland, but it's better than any of the others any of us have tried and I haven't seen one quite like it online yet.  I'm typing it out here, exactly as it is on the photocopy sheet.  My only adjustments are formatting with bullets to make it easier to read.  Read it all before you start making it, these bad boys take three days to get ready.

P.S. Hopefully the others will share posts of their chutney and lentil recipes here as well!

In a large bowl, mix:                                                    

  • Let set in a large bowl covered, an hour or longer, until batter rises and becomes stretchy.  It can sit as long as 3-6 hours.  When ready stir batter if liquid is settled on bottom.  Whip in blender, 2 cups of batter at a time, thinning it with 1/2 - 2/3 C water.  Batter will be quite thin.                                                                       

  • Cook in a non-stick frypan WITHOUT OIL over medium or medium-high heat.  Use 1/2 C batter per Injera for a 12-inch pan or 1/3 C batter for a 10-inch pan.  Pour batter in heated pan and quickly swirl pan to spread batter as thin as possible.

  • Batter should be no thincker than 1/8 inch.  Do not turn over.  Injera does not easil stick or burn.  It is cooked through when bubbles apear all over the top.
1 3/4 C Flour
1/2 C Self-rising flour
1/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 Pkt Dry Yeast
2 1/2 C Water, Warm
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

  • Combine the flours and yeast in a ceramic or glass bowl.  Add the warm water and mix into a fairly thin, smooth batter.  Let the mixture sit for three full days at room temperature.  Stir the mixture once a day.  It will bubble and rise.

  • When you are ready to make the Injera, add the baking soda and salt and let the bater sit for 10-15 minutes.  Heat a small, non-stick 9-inch skillet.  When a drop of water bounces on the pan's surface, take about 1/3 C of the batter and pour it in the skillet quickly, all at once.  Swirl the pan so that the entire bottom is coated, then return to heat.  The injera is cooked only on one side and the bottom should not brown.

  • When the moisture has evaporated and lots of "eyes" appear on the surface, remove the Injera.  Let each Injera cool and then stack them as you go along.  If the first Injera is undercooked, try using less of the mixture, perhaps 1/4 Cup, and maybe cook it a bit longer.  Be sure not to overcook it.  Injera should be soft and pliable so that it can be rolled or folded like a crepe.


CJ said...

Is this a recipe or a puzzle? It seems a bit mixed-up!

We love Ethiopian food so I'm looking forward to trying this!

Tonette said...

You should definitely make them.

It does read like a puzzle, I agree. I transcribed it just as it was given to us. They are easier than it sounds.

The directions are really after the list of ingredients but the first notes are helpful to know up front. The first part is kind of like sourdough starter if you have ever done that. Basically, put the stuff in a bowl and stir once a day for three days. Then cook em up.

If you have specific questions, we can probably answer them, too, so just ask.

Emily said...

Mesir W'et - Spicy Ethiopian Lentil Stew

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 cup dried red lentils
1 onion, chopped
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1 tablespoon berbere OR an additional 1 tablespoon paprika OR 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
sea salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
oil for frying


This is a recipe that I've tweaked to perfection and everyone asks me to bring to any pot-luck or party. If you can find a market that sells berere (a spice blend) it will taste more authentic. You can find recipes for the spice blend online or see the recipe for substitutes if you are in a hurry. This is usually served with injera, a flat pancake like bread. If you can't find that you could serve this with rice or pita bread.

1. Soak lentils for at least an hour in water

2. Drain and rinse and set aside

3. Saute onions and garlic in oil until golden

4. Add broth or water

5. Add spices and tomato paste

6. When gently boiling, add lentils

7. Turn down heat and simmer until lentils are tender and it's a thick stew, adding more liquid if needed.

8. Serve with rice, Injera bread or pita bread

Emily said...

Jon would like to submit a clip from his favorite movie: Cabin Feber