Berbere Spice Blend
This quintessentially Ethiopian chilli-based spice blend is readily available from mainstream supermarket chains. For a more authentic product the universal rule applies: if you want it done “properly” do it yourself. Every cook has their own version. The recipe given contains the most commonly used and readily available spices. Lesser known spices include nigella (black onion) seeds, ajwain, and korarima, a spice that grows wild in Ethiopia.
Make a simple dry spice powder which will keep in a sealed jar for many months, or go one step further and prepare a tempered berbere paste ready to add to dishes at any stage.
Just back in London. wet, windy and nippy: what a relief! Thought we’d enjoy the bad weather and sniff out some Veggie / vegan Ethiopian street food from a stall in the South Bank I heard about.
Ok, the injera is not 100% teff given the colour – and taste. I’ll ask what flour(s) they used another time. It felt wrong to scrutinize the product before deciding whether or not it was tasty, which it definitely was. The toppings were great: fresh and bright okra, cous-cous, chickpeas, brown-lentil and soya stews beatifully spiced and plenty of raw salds. Yum. Def recommend you try them when in central London. Weekends only.
Ethiopique, South Bank, London
Here we use yeast for breads you can make in minutes rather than days.
If you can, buy a sourdough starter. Or make your own. It’ll only take you three days! Put a cupful of flour in a bowl with a cup and half of tepid water and half a teaspoon of instant dry yeast. Mix well and leave, covered but not sealed, for three days. Initially there’ll be lots of frothy activity – eventually the mixture settles and a brownish liquid form on top. Ready.
The throusand hole crepe is in fact popular throughout North Africa. Continue reading “Quick Injera AKA Lahoh”
I’ve deliberately left out the dish’s nationality as I don’t know how an Ethiopian cook would react to the suggestion of making a non-sour-dough version of their ancestral dish. Indian cooks give this treatment to some of their traditionally fermented dishes like Dosa or Dhokla without a blink. Granted, we’re not in India, but it is quick. And tasty. Continue reading “Instant Injera”
It’s hard to describe the flavour of Injera. It is sour, but that wouldn’t begin to describe the unique complexity of this, one of the world’s great breads.
Made from Teff, a non-gluten, high-protein grain native to Ethiopia and Eritrea traditional Injera ferments for 3-5 days and nights, to become a probiotic wonder bursting with goodness as well as flavour. Sounds long winded? Just remember you’ve delegated the task of creating sourdough to lactic-acid bacteria while you get on with other things.
And if you can’t get hold of Teff I’ve eaten great “njera” made from buckwheat and millet, both also gluten-free. You can even use wheat! A step too far? Not at all. Officially you’d be eating another bread popular to the region, lahoh. But what’s in a name?
Continue reading “Teff Injera: naturally fermented sourdough bread”