Who needs rusks when you've got injera?
Poor low-carb dieters. It seems to me a fundamental break from the human condition to forgo grains - the staff of life reaching across continents and across the millennia. A reliance on a staple grain, be it rice, corn, or something else, unifies all of the world's cuisines. I also find it interesting that modern nutrition recommends eating a wide variety of grains, when so much of the world's population subsists, and even thrives, on one main grain only. Still, when you have the choice as we do in Footscray of broken rice from Vietnam, jalebi's golden, wheaten squiggles, and tangy, spongy, sorghum-based Ethiopian injera, why not branch out and try a new grain today?
You can buy injera for 80 cents a round from Footscray's specialist injera bakeries. I recommend Mesnoy Injera Bakery and Mama Rosina's - here, the lovely Ruta will be happy to give you cooking tips for the spicy wats or curries of her homeland. Mesnoy are also so friendly, and there you have a choice of savoury (wheat), non-savoury (a blend of corn, rice and wheat) and "brown", made from sorghum flour. Injera back in Ethiopia is made from teff, a native grain forbidden for export, so expats have to make do with various blends. Injera is not "baked" in the Western sense, but made into a batter that is first left to ferment for a day or more, before being cooked like a giant pancake on a large griddle. It isn't flipped, leaving its uppermost surface pockmarked with lots of craters, so that it acts just like a giant sponge when topped with juicy, oily curries!
Mesnoy and Mama Rosina's (as well as the many other Ethiopian groceries in Footscray) also sell berbere and niter kibbeh (traditional spice paste and spiced, clarified butter). In coming posts, I'll show you how you can use these to make your own delicious and surprisingly easy Ethiopian meals. Stay tuned!
Mesnoy Injera Bakery (map)
77 Irving St, Footscray
Phone: 9687 8855
Hours: 8.00am - 6.00pm, Mon-Sat
Mama Rosina's (map)
253A Barkly Street, Footscray
Phone: 9687 8191
Hours: 10.00am - 5.00pm, Mon-Sat