Injera (Somali: canjeero) is a pancake-like bread made out of
teff flour. It is traditionally eaten in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia (where it
is also called laxoox) and Yemen (where it is known as lahoh).
Left: This meal, consisting
of injera and several kinds of
wat or tsebhi
(stew), is typical of
Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine.
The most valued grain used to make injera is from the tiny,
iron-rich teff. However, its production is limited to certain middle elevations
and regions with adequate rainfall, so it is relatively expensive for the
average household. Because the overwhelming majority of highland Ethiopians are
poor farming households that grow their own subsistence grain, wheat, barley,
corn, and/or rice flour are sometimes used to replace some or all of the teff
There are also different varieties of injera in Ethiopia, such as
(white), kay (red) and tikur (black).
In making injera, teff flour is mixed with water and allowed to ferment for
several days, as with sourdough starter. As a result of this process, injera has
a slight sour taste. The injera is then ready to bake into large flat pancakes,
done either on a specialized electric stove or, more commonly, on a clay plate
(mogogo) placed over a fire.
In terms of shape, Injera compares to the French
crepe as a flatbread cooked in a circle and used as a
base for other foods. The taste and texture, however, are quite unique and
unlike the crepe.
Left: Canjeero, the
Somali version of injera, is a staple of Somali cuisine..
A variety of stews, sometimes salads are placed upon
the injera for serving. Using one's right hand, small pieces of injera
are torn and used to grasp the stews and salads for eating. The injera
under these stews soaks up the juices and flavours of the foods and,
after the stews and salads are gone, this bread is also consumed.
meal shared as part of a group.
Injera is thus simultaneously food, eating utensil, and
plate. When the entire "tablecloth" of injera is gone, the meal is over.