Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Adventures in African Cooking: Americanized Injera - A Resounding Failure

It's not good, people. And I'd had such high hopes. So sad.

I found several americanized injera recipes online, many using flour or biscuit mix and club soda as main ingredients. So I'd decided on a recipe using half bisquick and half buckwheat pancake mix with club soda. Here's the recipe:

Americanized Injera

1 cup buckwheat pancake mix
1 cup biscuit mix (ie, Bisquick) OR self-rising flour (I didn't have any)
1 egg
1 Tbsp oil
1-1/3 cups club soda

Combine all ingredients for an easy pouring consistency. Let stand, covered with a tea towel, at room temperature about 1-1/2 hours.

Bring a heavy skillet to medium heat uniformly over the flame. Reduce flame to low and spray pan with canola oil.

Pour or ladle batter onto hot pan in a stream starting from the outside and going in circles to the center. (A ladle is very helpful here to make sure the batter gets spread before setting.)

Cover pan tightly and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until bubbles are uniformly over the entire surface and pancake is cooked and dry to the touch on the surface.

Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Re-heat and start over until all batter is used. Pancakes should be stacked with paper towels between each.

I made two experimental versions. Version 1 was made as written, and the other, version 2, using all buckwheat mix and substituting beer. I figured beer would assist that sour ferment-y taste typical of real injera.

Not so. But we'll get to that.

So version 1, made in a stainless steel mixing bowl. After sitting on the counter for 1-1/2 hours, it had risen slightly but nothing too exciting. But verion 2 had doubled in volume!

After stirring well, both batters deflated; version 2 had more of an elastic-y consistency.

After cooking one pancake from each batter came the taste test. Version 1 yielded what can only be described as a pancake. Like what you'd put syrup on. Not flexible. Not what I'd call anything close to resembling real injera. Version 2 definitely had a fermented sour smell, but the taste was waaaaaay too strong. Like a beer pancake. Mmm. Both pancakes had a real floury crusty bite.

I added some water and a generous pinch of sugar to version 2 and tried again. That came out more crepe-ish than pancake. Better taste, but still not right.

That's when I came up with the idea to mix the two batters together. Versions 1 and 2 then became Batter X--and yielded the best taste.

Still not real injera, though.

So, for the Ethiopian meal I've planned for tomorrow at 1pm, I'll use the icky pancakes to line the pizza pan on which I'll serve the doro wat and sides, if only for an authentic look. But I'll have to pass out dishes, and perhaps even make a batch of white rice to balance the heat of the doro wat.

Oh, well.

I don't know if I'll try making injera from real teff, though. It seems like such a lengthy and difficult process... we'll see. I might just ask friends still in Atlanta to mail me a box of good, ready-made injera readily available there.

Here are some photos from my injera fun this afternoon:

Until tomorrow...

Mrs. W


W W said...

Hi Mrs. W
I like your recipes on Ethiopian dishes.
the berebre and niter kibe is perfect.
Hey, the injera is also OK.
I would not call it a failure, I mean like you mentioned it, "hard to get easy recipe"
The thing is injera is supposed to be teff and sour/fermented.
A starter/(ersho) some sort of leaven is a must to get the real taste & that spongy elastic texture of the "real injera".
I like my injera teff & real sour.
Atleast 3 days fermented.
See, the reason injera was sour, becasue it will take some of the bite out of that bereber wot/stew.
I say don't give up Mrs. W.
Help is on the way!


Mrs. W said...

I will keep trying--can't wait to get my hands on more teff! (Teff FLOUR this time... I tried the grain and it was not a good experiment.) So I'll try your recipe next time--my mouth is watering already. God bless!

W W said...

Hi Mrs. W
Thank you, for visiting my blog and adding my blog to your feed.
Hey, thank you, on the abish tip. I will get my abish supply from on line next time.
Regards my teff supply, I got it a while back from teff co. 25lb ivory teff flour for, I think about $63.00, includes shipping.
Those spicy stews will taste better with teff injera.
But I have to warn you, lot's of calories.
You know what, Mrs. W. the Lord showed me some thing about shading those unwanted calories fast. Yes, fast and keep them away at bay. It worked for me.
I do cleansing with food and herbs. This cleansing and detoxifying thing, works wonders for me.
I gave all the glory to my Master (Jesus).
See, in my case once I hit my 40's, (that was way back) the weight got comfy with me and like to stay with me. Not anymore now.
Thank God for cleansing & detoxifying.
O! My God! I came to say thank you for the abish tip. And here I am pouring my little heart out.
Who knows, the Lord way is always amazing.


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