Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Zigni with Injera

I made this meal on Wednesday, June 12.  I was nervous about it because the Berebere pepper spice mix has five tablespoons of cayenne in it... I almost cut it back, but then thought that if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this!  I'm glad I did; there was most definitely heat, but it was heat in the complex, spice-y way, kind of like Indian food.  I thought the Zigni was awesome.

I have had injera before - a student brought some in to class once - but I had never made it.  I mixed the teff flour and water on Monday and let it sit until Wednesday on the counter under a dish towel to ferment.  I really didn't think that it would be that hard considering the fact that the recipe I used kept likening the process to making pancakes.  Boy, was I wrong!  All was fine until I had to take it out of the pan, and then it fell apart.  I thought I maybe didn't have enough oil... Nope, that wasn't the problem.  Then I thought that maybe the heat was too high?  Nope.  I had no idea what I did wrong, but as you can see from the pictures, it did NOT turn out.  And, it's not like I could whip up more batter to try again, as it has to ferment for 1-3 days.  I researched it a bit more after I had destroyed my injera, and found this website, which tells me that I used the wrong pan, was supposed to cover it, and let it cool before I tried to handle it.  Good to know.  I guess I'll get another chance to try making injera in two weeks when I do Ethiopia.

The injera seemed to taste right.  It was tangy and sour, just like I remember it being from when my student from Ethiopia brought it in.

The traditional way to serve zigni with injera is to lay pieces of injera down.  It then acts as the tray for the zigni.  No utensils are used; torn off pieces of the injera serve as a scoop for the zigni, and the meal is done once all of the injera is eaten, and by the time you get to the stuff that was under the zigni, it has soaked up a good amount of highly flavorful zigni liquid.  Obviously, given my struggles with the injera, I couldn't eat it this way completely.  I was able to get a couple of bites of zigni using injera as my utensil.


- 2 lbs. stewing beef, in cubes
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cans tomatoes, with liquid (the recipe was only this specific; I used two 15 oz. cans of diced)
- salt and pepper
- fresh cilantro (optional)
Berebere pepper ingredients:
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp. ground fenugreek
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 T. salt
- 5 T. cayenne pepper
- 2 T. paprika
- 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1) For the berebere, combine the spices and roast in a dry skillet on low to moderate heat, stirring constantly, for about 5-10 minutes or until roasted.  Store in a tight jar.

2) For the stew, fry the meat on high until brown, then add the onions, and eventually the garlic and 3 T. berebere, which are NOT to become burnt.
3) Add the tomatoes with their liquid and simmer until the meat is tender and the stew has thickened (30-60 minutes).
4) Garnish with cilantro and serve hot on injera.

"Injera" (I put quotation marks around it because my destruction of it does not do justice to actual injera)
What injera is supposed to look like

What mine looked like

- 1 c. teff flour
- 1 c. lukewarm water
- 1/2 c. soda water
- 1 tsp. salt
- sunflower oil

1) Mix teff flour with water and let stand in a bowl covered with a dish towel, at room temperature, until it bubbles and has turned sour.  This may take as long as three days.  The fermenting mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter.

After fermenting for two days

2) Add soda water and stir in salt.

3) Lightly oil a large frying-pan.  Heat over medium heat.  Then proceed as you would with pancakes.  Cook briefly in the covered frying pan until holes form in the injera (like pancakes) and the edges lift from the pan.

Remove.  (Here is where I ran into problems).

5) Let injera cool

Attempt 1
Attempt 2

All three attempts...

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