Authentic Ethiopian Injera with Teff Fermentation

I’m a student at University of Cincinnati and am excited to share a project I did for my Culture and Nutrition class. I wanted to chose a topic and project that not only sparked interest but also challenge me to learn new things about a culture I am not very familiar with. I wanted to go beyond reading and researching, but to incorporate other cultural experiences that I could in my own home.

Click here to read my paper on Ethiopian culture and Genna (Christmas) Celebrations in Lalibela.

This page expands on the cooking portion of the project that I didn’t go into much detail within the paper itself.

Teff is the smallest grain in the world and indigenous to the highlands of Ethiopia. It is nutrient dense and is the traditional grain used for making injera, an Ethiopian flatbread.

Teff fermentation took 5 days with a three step process. I did not measure and only went by texture, look and smell. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and use my hands to mix the teff just as they do in Ethiopia to be as authentic as possible. Tips I would have is not to use the berbere mixture in the photo above and make your own. The purchased berbere from Whole Foods seemed to have an uneven amount of spice and some spice flavor was lost. I had a couple failed attempts, the first fermentation of teff flour and the first making shiro wat with this berbere spice. I changed the second fermentation method to go by the recipe video link below and made my own berbere mix and everything turned out perfect!


STEP1 Teff Fermentation

First I ground up teff into flour and mixed it with distilled water and yeast. Make sure to rinse off sides as you add water.

file4-1       file1-1

     Ground whole teff into flour                           Mixed four, water and yeast by hand

file2-1  file5-2

Ivory teff (left) and dark teff (right)

Day 1 Teff Fermentation                                              Day 2 Teff Fermentation

IMG_3715       file3-12

Step 2 Teff Fermentation

Pour liquid off the top of teff mixture and stir. Add a ladle of 3 or 4 day fermented teff mixture into ~ 2 cups water. Cook for 20 minutes while stirring to make sure it doesn’t become lumpy. Let cool for 20 minutes and then add back into mixture and stir well. Let ferment one more day (overnight is enough time).


Step 3 Teff Fermentation

Pour liquid off top and mix well. Add water to desired consistency (thinner than pancake but not as liquid as crêpe batter)

Liquid from Ivory teff (left) and dark teff (right)



Heat griddle to 400 degrees F, use no oil. Mix and pour batter in a large circle and pour in circle until middle. Cook until about 80 percent of the bread is darkened (not wet). Put on lid for 40 seconds. Do not flip! Slide off onto plate to cool. (For extra help use a Lefse Stick)


Ivory teff (left) and dark teff (right)



Injera with (top left and counter clockwise) Doro wat, shiro wat, missir wat, gomen (collard greens) and lettuce garnish. Note: I did not include hard-boiled eggs into the Doro Wat as I have a reaction to eggs.




All of the wat I made had a similar base: blended/chopped super fine onion, garlic and berbere spice.


I based my meal off of these Recipes:


Misser Wot:

Shiro Wat:

Doro Wot (Mine turned out a bit dry, and I had to exclude hardboiled egg due to egg allergy):



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