Injera is an East African sourdough-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff flour, it is a national dish in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Injera is usually made from the tiny, iron-rich teff. Teff flour is gluten free, therefore Injera that’s made only with teff flour and water is gluten free and has higher demand. There are also different varieties of injera in Ethiopia, such as nech (white), kay (red), and sergegna (mixed).
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 mildly sour taste. The injera is then ready to be baked into large, flat pancakes. Unusual for a yeast or sourdough bread, the dough has sufficient liquidity to be poured onto the baking surface, rather than rolled out.
In terms of shape, injera compares to the French crêpe and the Indian dosa as a flatbread cooked in a circle and used as a base for other foods. The taste and texture, however, are unlike the crêpe and dosa, and more similar to the South Indian appam. The bottom surface of the injera, which touches the heating surface, will have a relatively smooth texture, while the top will become porous. This porous structure allows the injera to be a good bread to scoop up sauces and dishes.
In Ethiopia and Eritrea, injera is eaten daily in virtually every household. Outside of the Horn of Africa, injera may be found in grocery stores and restaurants specializing in Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking.