Saturday, June 11, 2011

injera and wat

i encountered ethiopian cuisine only after going vegan and i've adored it ever since. what a thrill! so much spice, fermentation, and a delightful variety of legumes. plus it calls upon the eater to practice her manual adroitness and cultivate a nonchalance about the food smeared across her hands and face.

it's DIY or die when it comes to ethiopian food in santa cruz: i lament my distance from beloved rahel but making injera at home is always a fun and high-stakes domestic project. max and i combed through a bunch of injera-making resources on the internet, many of which advise you not to even try because it never works. then we kind of did our own thing, involving our (companion species) sourdough starter and some teff flour.

all appearances to the contrary, this signifies success:

injera ferment

a jar of sand and mud! yesss. we poured off the swill-ish top layer, blended up the remaining batter to eliminate any grittiness, and thinned it to a crepe-like consistency. it cooks on one side only: if all goes well, there is a great deal of happy bubbling and little holes appear, like so:

injera cooks

the injera is the precarious part of the meal prep. the rest involves making spicy, rich, long-simmering vegetable or lentil stews with heavenly aromas. i wish i had enough pots and pans and patience to make 6 or 7; this time i stuck with atakilt wat (cabbage, carrot and potato) and yemisir wat (red lentil stew):

ethiopian plate

perfection. everything is so tender and spicy-sweet-complex. i used recipes from atakilt wat and yemisir wat. followed them pretty faithfully except that i doubled the amount of red lentils in the yemisir wat, and i used a touch of regular canola oil instead of nitter kibbeh—it was still plenty spice-dense. i love pulling 12 different spice jars out of the pantry for one meal!


Jake and Alana said...

High-stakes domesticity! That will be the title of your future cookbook.

Cadry said...

Your wot and injera look fantastic! I know your pain about being apart from Rahel. It was my favorite restaurant in LA. Now the injera and wots in Vegan Lunchbox are my go-to for Ethiopian cravings. They don't taste just like Rahel, but then, that's why I travel! :)

Hannah said...

I'm incredibly impressed by your injera skills- They look amazing! I tried to make them once, but failed miserable, so I'm quite jealous of your lovely flat breads.