Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Injera Strip Chips Snack!




A nice spicy crispy Ethiopian Injera Bread Snack!

     While doing some research on Ethiopian cuisine, I noticed that many Ethiopian food writers had posted recipes for stale injera bread that was still good enough to eat.  That is resourceful!  Wasting food is never a good thing!
     The fermented teff grain batter that is used to make injera has a nice sour flavor.  Injera is a naturally leavened sourdough type of batter.  Only the yeast from the air acts as a leavening agent!
     This recipe is simple and quick.  Whoever had the idea of creating this recipe, did not just have resourcefulness in mind.  They had flavor in mind!  The sour flavor of injera bread is perfect for a snack chip!  The niter kibbeh and the berbere add even more flavor along with a spicy kick!
   
     Niter Kibbeh Recipe:
     Niter Kibbeh is Ethiopian spiced clarified butter!
     Place 3/4 pound of unsalted butter in a sauce pot off of the heat.
     Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic.
     Add 1 small handful of thick sliced ginger.
     Add 2 or 3 crushed cardamom pods.
     Add 1 small cinnamon stick.
     Add 2 cloves.
     Add 3 pinches of turmeric.
     Add 2 pinches of fennel seed.
     Place the sauce pot over very low heat.
     Slowly render the butter and spices together, till the butter fats and water evaporate and the butter is clarified.
     Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     The clarified niter kibbeh can be refrigerated and scooped by portions for later Ethiopian recipes.

     Berbere Dry Spice Mix Recipe:
     Berbere is the main Ethiopian spice mix.  The spices are crushed together with a mortar and pestle.  A food processor or the side of a cleaver can be used to crush and grind the spices too.  If ground spices are used, then crushing is not necessary.
     Some of the berbere ingredients are very hard to find in markets, so treat them as optional ingredients.  Fenugreek or fenugreek seed is required, and that spice can be found in mediterranean markets.  Cardamon is expensive at common grocery stores.  You can get at least ten times as much cardamom at a Persian Arabic market for the same price as in an American grocery store!  Cardamom or Ethiopian korarima is required!
     Berbere can be made as a paste with fresh onion, garlic and ginger.  Berbere can also be made as a dry spice mix and onion, garlic and ginger become part of the ingredients of the featured recipe instead of the berbere spice mix paste recipe.  Ginger powder can be part of the dry spice mix, but fresh ginger can still be added to a recipe.
     I prefer making the berbere dry spice mix rather than berbere paste.  The dry berbere spice mix has a long shelf life.  The berbere paste must be refrigerated and used within 7 days, because of Serve Safe health code reasons.
     Place 1 tablespoon of ginger powder into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ground dried basil leaf.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of coriander.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of ground cardamom.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of ground fennugreek.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of ground nutmeg.
     Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ground clove.
     Add 1 teaspoon of allspice.
     Add 1/2 cup of cayenne pepper.  (Add 1 cup to make a full strength berbere spice mix!)
     Add 1 tablespoon of black pepper.
     Add 1/3 cup of paprika.
     Add 1 tablespoon of korarima.  (Korarima is Ethiopian cardamom.  Delete the regular cardamom, if you can find this spice.  This is an optional ingredient.)
     Add 1 tablespoon of rue.  (Common rue is fine.  Rue can be found in Bulgarian or Balkan markets.  Rue is also a common ornamental plant and is may be in a neighbors front yard!  Rue is a natural insect repellant, but it can be a strong skin irritant.  Now you know why when visiting Ethiopia, the native Africans stand there smiling with no flies or mosquitos pestering them, while you are busy swatting and cursing at the bugs!  This is an optional ingredient.)
     Salt can be part of the spice mix, but it is better to leave it out of the mix.  Salt should be added separately per recipe.

     Injera Strip Chips Snack Recipe:
     Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  (The more cooking surface area, the better!)
     Add about 3 ounces of the niter kibbeh.
     Add 1 large handful of stale edible injera bread that is cut into long wide strips.
     Gently shake the pan, so the injera does not stick.
     Toss and saute, till the injera becomes toasted brown and crisp.
     Sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of the berbere spice mix over the injera, while tossing the injera in the pan.
     Sprinkle sea salt over the injera.
     Use tongs to place the spiced crisp injera on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with a cilantro sprig.

     Exotic spiced and spicy!  The sour flavored crisp injera chips taste great with berbere spice mix and the flavor of the spiced clarified butter.  There is a hot chile pepper kick that makes this snack a perfect accompaniment for beer!
     This recipe is a great way to use up old injera!  Yum!  ...  Shawna   

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