Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Injera Experiment: Mildly Successful

This post is a little bit different from the other posts because it's not about baking desserts, but it is about experimenting in the kitchen.  In this case, I tried making Ethiopian food.  If you've never had the chance to try Ethiopian cuisine, you are missing out!

There are several wonderful things to enjoy about Ethiopian cuisine, including the fact that it has a lot of vegan and vegetarian options and that injera (flatbread) is gluten-free.  I've gone out to Ethiopian restaurants when I know that I'm going to be eating with people who have dietary restrictions.  The main Ethiopian meal of the day generally has several different types of vegetable stews and may also have a spicy meat dish, which are served on large pieces of injera.  You rip off smaller pieces of injera and use it to scoop up mouthfuls of food.  The injera also absorbs the flavors of the food that's on top of it, so when you're done eating the stews there is flavor-infused injera left to finish off the meal.

There are several cities in the US with large Ethiopian and Eritrean populations, and I ended up living in three of them: Washington DC (largest Ethiopian population in the US), Los Angeles, and Oakland.  While my Ethiopian cooking skills may be lacking, I have extensive practice at eating in Ethiopian restaurants.

After a really nice dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant several weeks ago, I was lying on my bed in a food coma and googled Ethiopian recipes to see how difficult it was to make what we had had for dinner.  To my surprise, all of the recipes looked very easy.  The biggest problem was that I was missing two major ingredients: teff flour and berbere spice.