Injera is the Ethiopian staple bread (staple = a principal dietary item, such as flour, rice, or corn) its thin crepe like flat bread that the dishes such as Wots, Tibs and Fitfit are served on. To eat the dishes pieces of injera are torn off and used to scoop up mouthful.
Injera is unique to Ethiopia and Eritrea, from its distinct taste and main ingredient the Teff cereal. Teff is the tiniest cereal and used as a staple food only in Ethiopia (in other parts of the world it's associated with common grass). Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC.
Injera preparation usually takes two to three days, the teff is milled into powder then mixed in water along yeast and small quantity of flowers. This mix is set aside at room temperature for two days so it ferments and raises. During the second day it starts to give tangy aromas as the fermentation releases air bubbles; this is where the Injera's slight tangy taste comes from.
After the fermentation process is finished the mix is cooked on hot flat iron pan called 'Mitad'. A circular motion is used to achieve thin consistency. When the hot pan and the fermented teff mix/batter contact thousands of tiny air bubbles escape, creating thousands of tiny craters/eyes - creating the familiar look of Injera.
The side touching the hot mitad pan gets its flat look, while the one facing away towards the air has the a porous structure with thousands of mini craters. This pour us structure allows the injera to be a good bread to scoop up sauces and dishes.
In Ethiopia and Eritrea, this spongy, sour flatbread is used to scoop up meat and vegetable stews. Injera also lines the tray on which the stews are served, soaking up their juices as the meal progresses. When this edible tablecloth is eaten, the meal is officially over.
Injera is made with teff, a tiny, round grain that flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia. While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. This makes teff ill-suited for making raised bread, however injera still takes advantage of the special properties of yeast. A short period of fermentation gives it an airy, bubbly texture, and also a slightly sour taste.
Injera is not only a kind of bread—it’s also an eating utensil.