Ethiopia: Vegan Meals

September 01, 2019

Ethiopia: Vegan Meals

From tangy flatbreads to thick curries and refreshing salads, Ethiopian food is one of the most flavorful cuisines on the planet. By using our quick guide to this African delicacy, you’ll be introduced to a new culinary world without having to travel halfway across the globe.

Injera Flatbread

A fermented grain mixed with water and then fried similar to a pancake or crêpe. injera is the backbone of Ethiopian meals. Eaten multiple times a day and typically served family-style with large spoonfuls of savory dishes, injera is commonly made from a grain called teff and is full of nutrients such as protein, calcium, fiber, and iron. Teff is naturally gluten-free, but many American restaurants mix in other grains to save money. Food platters are served with additional pieces of injera to scoop up delectable dishes such as simmered greens, spicy lentils, or stewed chickpeas. The best part? Injera is always vegan.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Teff flour

3/4 cup warm water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon active yeast

1/4 teaspoon baking powder(optional for even more holes)

Method:

Whisk all the ingredients. Cover with a light lid and let the batter sit for 1-2 days.

When ready to make the injera, gently remove the dark water on top into a bowl

Whisk the batter for evenness and proceed to make the Injera.

Cooking:

  1. Start up the pan on medium-high heat and wait till hot.
  2. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil. Spread the oil using a paper napkin to form a thin oil layer on all of the pan.
  3. Make a smaller flatbread to begin with. to let the pan heat well and also get a feel for how the batter moves. Pour 2-3 Tablespoons of the batter and make the flatbread.
  4. The batter should be a thin pancake batter. Depending on the Teff or flours used, you might need to add more water or flour if the batter is too thin(no holes develop when the flatbread cooks) or too thick(makes flatbread like a pancake). I used a 12-inch large nonstick pan.
  5. Pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the batter on the hot pan.
  6. You can either pour the batter in concentric circles or pour all of it and then move the pan to spread it around. See the pictures above.
  7. Once spread, wait for a few bubbles to appear then cover the pan with a lid to steam the injera for a minute or so.
  8. Remove lid and let cook until the center is set and not wet and the edges start to pull away. 3-5 minutes depending on the size.
  9. Remove the Injera and let cool. The edges might feel crisp when you take it off the heat but will soften once cool.

Berbere Jackfruit Tacos

Berbere is a staple seasoning blend of hot red peppers and spices such as garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, and paprika. Most often added to spicy red sauces and stews, berbere can also be used in dressings or as a tableside condiment. Purchase the flavorful accompaniment as a dried spice mix in Ethiopian grocery stores, specialty markets, or online, or make the paste at home. Berbere can also pack some heat, so proceed with caution.

Ingredients:

20 oz can jackfruit

1 medium onion roughly chopped

8 cloves of garlic, more the merrier

1 tbsp oil, olive or safflower

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp or more paprika use 1 tsp smoked and 1 tsp sweet paprika

2 tsp berbere spice blend, less or more to heat and flavor preference

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon   optional

1/4 tsp or more cayenne if berbere is not hot

1 to 2 tbsp bbq sauce

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp soy sauce or use coconut aminos for soy-free or omit

Instructions:
  1. Squeeze the jackfruit in between paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible. It is ok if it squishes.
  2. Process with onion, garlic, and jackfruit until coarsely shredded. Alternatively, finely chop the onion and garlic and finely chop/shred the jackfruit.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the spices and sauces well. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  4. Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet so its an even layer.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. Mix and spread after 20 minutes to move the center portion out. Also taste at this time for salt, heat, and flavor. Adjust if needed and mix in.
  6. Prep your tortillas. Add a good helping of the jackfruit mixture. Add cucumbers or other crunchy veggies. Add a creamy dressing like tahini dressing, or vegan ranch dressing or tzatziki.

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