Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cooking with Kelly

Well, I hope you all have remembered that leading up to this cooking project, I warned you that cooking isn't really my thing. I wasn't just being modest.

Let's deem cooking with Kelly project #1 a :)

I wanted to start off with injera, the Ethiopian flatbread type food, because it's pretty much the staple of every meal. In Ethiopia, all other foods are served on top of this and you use it as the utensil, picking up your food with a piece of the injera. Injera is made of teff which is the smallest grain in the world; it takes about 150 teff seeds to equal the weight of a kernel of wheat.

I did a fair amount of research on different injera recipes. The one I fell in love with seems so impossible. It all starts with a 15 day sourdough starter, which you then need to transition to a teff starter, which you then have to use to actually make the injera. My chest is getting tight just thinking about it.

So I thought it would be a better idea to start off easy. When I say easy, I mean EASY. It's hard for me to wrap my head around a recipe being SO difficult and one that is SO easy to make the exact same thing. But I put my blinders on and went for it.

The ingredients I used include:

1/4 cup teff flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
a pinch of salt

Here's the reciepe itself:

1. Put the teff flour in the bottom of a mixing bowl, and sift in the all-purpose flour.

2. Slowly add the water, stirring to avoid lumps.

3. Put the batter aside for a day or more (up to three days) to allow it to ferment. In this time, your injera batter will start to bubble and acquire the slight tanginess for which it’s known. Note: If you find that your injera batter does not ferment on its own, try adding a teaspoon of yeast.

4. Stir in the salt.

5. Heat a nonstick pan or lightly oiled cast-iron skillet until a water
drop dances on the surface. Make sure the surface of the pan is smooth: Otherwise, your injera might fall apart when you try to remove it.

6. Coat the pan with a thin layer of batter. Injera should be thicker than a crĂªpe, but not as thick as a traditional pancake. It will rise slightly when it heats.

7. Cook until holes appear on the surface of the bread. Once the surface is dry, remove the bread from the pan and let it cool.

That was easy. Even for me. So I'm going to give myself a little bit of an out, though. I only let the mixture set for a day, because I procrastinated too much was too excited to try it out so I'm not sure I let it ferment long enough because there weren't a whole lot of bubbles. Also, there was this thin liquid over the surface of the mixture and the recipe didn't tell me what to do with I stirred it all in. Okay, okay, you want to see the results, don't you? See, when I went to take a picture, I couldn't get the camera to work. And I wasn't at all sad about it because I thought that meant I just wouldn't have to share a picture with you all! My handy husband got it working though, so there goes my excuse. Here it is...don't laugh...

Oh gosh, I know, it looks nothing like the real deal. P.S. here's the real deal:

Here's the thing: it doesn't really taste that bad! Nick doesn't think it tastes like injera, mostly because he feels like the spongy-ness is what makes it injera. But hey, teff is bursting with nutrients like fiber, iron and calcium, so I ate some of it anyway.

Where do I go from here? Well, I think it's safe to say there's nowhere but up! I'm going to let my mixture ferment for a few more days and try again with the same mixture to figure out if that would have made such a huge difference. By next month, I will have attempted the super difficult injera recipe and can hopefully tell you whether it's worth the extra effort.

1 comment:

  1. you're so funny!!! ours was crazy too! except ours turned out SUPER bubbly. like kind of scary.