I first tried Ethiopian food when I was in LA. A great little health food store in Los Feliz neighbourhood, up by the Hollywood Hills, kept them in the chiller to-go. The curious grey/brown spongy wrap and sunlight yellow peas looked so appetising. I was setting off on a ‘road trip within a road trip’ down to Joshua Tree to be alone in the desert and stare at millions of glistening stars. I grabbed them and a bottle of kombucha and headed out. I devoured them whilst driving in LA traffic (not a good idea folks, don’t do this at home…well at home yes, but not in your car). The flavours and textures were an instant hit. Every road trip I took, beginning at this point, then always began with a mighty roll of tangy injera bread and lemony legumes. When I’ve eaten them in other places since, they always transport me back to sunny California and dusty deserts.
Even though I’ve been hooked on Ethiopian cuisine ever since, it has taken me years to get around to making injera bread. I was a bit scared of it. Silly really, fermentation is not really something to be feared, like say rip tides or leg waxing. I guess it’s all timing. I decided Vegan MoFo 2013 was a wonderful excuse to have a go.
Injera is teff flour mixed with water and left to ferment for 2-3 days (mine took 3 days..it will depend on the warmth of your house). It has a mildly sour taste. Teff belongs to the genus of ‘love grass’. Reported to be rich in iron and complex carbs ( thought to regulate blood sugar), high in calcium, gluten free and, well, someone once told me all those Gold medal winning Ethiopian runners eat plenty of it, so it must be good.
1 cup dried yellow split peas. soaked over night. 3 cups of water to cook. 1 1/2 tsp pink or sea salt. Cook until soft but not completely mushy. It is good to have a bit of texture. 35-40mins. Cook then set aside. If they are too wet the strain off some of the water. See the photo below for how they should look.
5 medium cloves garlic minced
1/4 onion grated (the original recipe didn’t use onion but I used it as a buffer for the garlic so it didn’t burn)
1 1/2 inch fresh ginger minced (use my method of mincing in a garlic press..discovered this for myself last week)
1 tsp turmeric
Put all the ingredients into an oiled pan. Quick fry for 2 mins. Stir constantly.
Pop the garlic, ginger paste into the beans and stir. Now squeeze over the juice of 1-2 lemons, depending on size and juiciness. The acidity of the lemons make the flavour of the beans zing.
See you tomorrow! x