Injera or Enjera (incorrectly Injura) is a pancake -like flatbread made out of special teff flour. Traditionally, Injera is eaten in Ethiopia, Somalia (where it is also called lahoh) and Eritrea. The most valued grain used to make Injera is from the tiny, iron-rich grain teff. Injera is made with teff, a tiny, round grain that flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia. While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. However, its production is limited to certain middle altitudes and adequate rainfall regimes, and so it is relatively expensive for the average household. Hence, grains such as barley and corn are often mixed with teff, or used in place of teff (with different varieties of Injera, such as white and black).
Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrants have modified their recipes after moving to the United States or Europe, depending on what grains are available to them. Outside of the Ethiopian Plateau, Injera may be found in groceries and restaurants specializing in Ethiopian, Somali or Eritrean foods. Though, this Injera is made using a smaller amount of teff than normal, as teff, hard to come by in many places, is replaced by wheat, barley, and/or rice.
Classically, a regular Injera is cooked of a mixture of flour with water, previously allowed to ferment for a few days. It is then ready to fry into large flat pancakes, which initially were heat stones. And now of course it is more naturally cook Injera in an oven or on a gas. Many Ethiopians in America use square-shaped, electric, nonstick pans. These heat evenly and make it easy to remove the Injera once it is cooked. Nevertheless, the technology is far from complex- just mix water and teff flour (or any other) and let it for a while.
The only tip is not to mix the batter too much otherwise, gluten, which is contained in teff in enormous amount, will develop, making Injera too chewy. Naturally, if you use some other kinds of flour, it doesn't matter. In some provinces and restaurants, it is a frequent thing to add some amount of greens to make it taste spicy. There is nothing difficult in cooking - just wait until holes appear on the surface of the bread. Once the surface is dry, remove the bread from the pan and let it cool. And that is all!
The role of bread in any society is important, but if we take Injera, it s role in Ethiopian cuisine is really immense.
Injera is not only a flatbread it is also a utensil, with the help of which a variety of stews, and sometimes salad are eaten. In Ethiopia and Eritrea, this spongy, sour flatbread is used to scoop up meat and vegetable stews - using one's right hand; small pieces of Injera are torn and used to grasp the stews and salads for eating. Moreover, Injera is a kind of tablecloth with some bowls with food placed upon it for serving.
Injera lines the tray on which the stews are served, soaking up their juices as the meal progresses. When this edible plate is eaten, the meal is officially over. Injera is thus simultaneously food, utensil, and plate.