Culinary Experiments

Injera – Day 2.5 – cooking

This morning, our injera had a distinct grey watery layer on top and a very distinct smell. We tried to follow the instructions and pour the water off the top, but the dough was a bit too watery for that, so we left it alone.  We followed the instructions; took 1c and added it to 2c boiling water and stirred until it thickened, then added back to the main bowl and left covered in a patch of sun to rise.

In the meantime, we started on the entrees. First, about 11 cups of onions browned, then I pre-measured out all the spices for the five dishes into individual bowls to facilitate massive cooking efforts later.

By this time, the injera was ready to cook. It took a few tries to get the heat just right (water droplets skittering across the pan surface). After a few failed attempts, we had it down well enough; the key was pouring on the batter and getting it even very quickly, leaving it for a few seconds, then clamping the lid down to steam the top. When they cooked properly, they slid around on the pan without sticking and were very easy to remove.

They usually looked great in the pan, even when the end result was a dud

Very first attempt resulted in a crumbly mess that stuck to everything

By the end, we were getting very nice results

It’s a good thing we have the 5-burner stove… this is the first time we’ve needed to have that many things going at once.

Eli was great at stirring things left-handed while I ran about doing the tasks that required two hands

Overall, everything came our really well. The collard greens were the biggest hit, none left over from that. I’ve learned that the recipes call for more berbere than I’d like; most of the dishes were too spicy for me (but perfect for Eli).  Also, despite cooking the lentils a lot longer than the recipe called for, they were still quite crunchy. I guess we’ll boil them longer next time. I wish I hadn’t been too busy at the end of the meal to send folks home with leftovers! There’s no way Eli and I will finish all of this in the next few days.

The final spread

Injera: Day 1 1/2

Just took a peak before leaving for work. The liquid on top isn’t as disgusting as others say it should be; it’s more a grey-brown than black. But I’ll take it!


I guess tonight we boil a subset and add it back in, let it ferment/rise for another few hours, then cook. Should be fun! I’ve read that we can keep a small subset in the fridge and feed it T’ef to grow it again. We’ll have to see how painful the process is before making our decision 🙂

Injera: Day 1

Decided to tackle Ethiopian for Wednesday’s dinner, so step 1 was to get the Injera started today. It’s a spongy sour flatbread that should look like this when done:

Unfortunately, the recipe in Exotic Ethiopian Cooking said to use 6 cups of water, but you add the water in four different steps, and it doesn’t tell you how much to add in each one. So I guessed 5c mixed with the flour (1.5lb, weighed out on a scale), and 1c. warm with the yeast (2 packets). It looks soupy to me, but we’ll see! What I have now is a thin batter, covered with a towel waiting to rise. I hope the bowl is big enough…

Some folks have said it smells horrible on day 2, but it also says elsewhere to keep at 70° while rising. I don’t have anywhere that’s that warm, nevermind that warm and well-ventilated.  Just going to keep my fingers crossed that it works on the kitchen table.

7pm (1:15 after adding yeast). I think I need a bigger bowl!

8:30pm (3 hrs into rising). And now it looks less appealing. I believe I’ll stop checking until tomorrow 😀