What is Injera ?
Spongy, sour Ethiopian flatbread used to scoop up meat and vegetable stews. Injera is also an eating utensil that lines the tray on which the stews are served, soaking up their juices as the meal progresses. When this edible tablecloth is eaten, the meal is officially over.
What is Injera made of ?
Real Injera is made with 100% teff, a tiny, round grain that flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia. While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. This makes teff ill-suited for making raised bread, however injera still takes advantage of the special properties of yeast. A short period of fermentation gives it an airy, bubbly texture, and also a slightly sour taste.
Teff Fast Facts
Scientific name: Eragrostis, teff
Smallest grain in the world
Name comes from Teffa, Amharic for "lost", as its tiny size means the grains are often lost
Nutrition: 80% complex carbohydrates, 11% protein, 3% fat
Excellent source of: Lysine, fiber, iron, calcium, potassium
Do all Injeras have same ingredients ?
No. Ethiopian immigrants have modified their recipes after moving to the United States or Europe, depending on what grains are available to them. The injera you find in many international stores and East African restaurants in the United States includes both teff and wheat flours. Most injera made in Ethiopia, on the other hand, is made solely with teff.
Is Teff widely available ?
While Injera is eaten daily in every household in Ethiopia, Teff production is limited to certain middle elevations and adequate rainfall regimes, so it is relatively expensive for the average household in Ethiopia. Since the overwhelming majority of highland Ethiopians are poor farming households, they must grow their own subsistence grain, so wheat, barley, corn, and/or rice flour may be used to replace some or all of the teff content. Most would agree that this is done at the expense of flavor. There are also different varieties of injera, such as nech (white) and tikur (black).
How is Injera cooked ?
- The traditional method is by using a large, handmade, clay plate over a fire. This set-up is a stove called a mitad, which is difficult to use, produces large amounts of smoke, and is dangerous to children. Because of this cooking method, much of the area’s limited fuel resources are wasted. But in 2003 a research group was given the Ashden award [see external links] for designing a new type of stove for cooking injera. The new stove uses available fuel sources (including dung) for cooking injera and other foods efficiently. Several parts are made in the central cities of the countries, while other parts are molded from clay by women of local areas.
Why Import injera from Ethiopia ?
- We believe that teff is a product that has substantial potential in the future world market, and for further growth in the Ethiopian economy.
- We hope to create more jobs and practice fair trade in Ethiopia. Everyone involved in the production and exporting line of injera, the farmers, bakers, exporters, shippers would benefit from this business as the production goes up.
- We generate foreign currency to the country.
- We help Ethiopians abroad who can’t eat the local injera due to different health issues.
- The Ethiopian diaspora can be a recipient of the health benefits of home grown teff which is rich in nutritional content.
What to know ?
- The easiest way to help Ethiopia’s economy is to buy Ethiopian products and to use Ethiopian services.
- Educating our community that the way out of poverty is trade NOT aid.
- Creating jobs and promoting trade will bring about permanent solutions for making Ethiopia a more prosperous country
MORE ABOUT TEFF: Ethiopian Super-Grain