Before anyone gets their panties or briefs in a bunch and writes an angry comment, the animal prints behind the cups of tea and the crepes are nothing more than patterned paper. No zebras or giraffes were harmed in the making of this blog post.
It’s the truth. Teff Love by Kittee Berns intimidated me. And not – as I realized after I began cooking from it – because the recipes were difficult, but because my perception of making Ethiopian food at home made me believe they would be difficult. But still, I took it slow. I began with the low-hanging fruit, the familiar: spiced black tea, brownies, a simple smoothie, and creamy mac ‘n’ cheese. Next, I explored the bean dishes – and there are many bean dishes.
But then the time finally came when I couldn’t avoid them any longer. I had to face the crepes. Despite being a bread maker, something about making injera made my knees knock. I started with a batch of ersho (sourdough starter) so that I could make the injera, but even after careful tending and monitoring, the starter sat on my counter with nary a bubble and no sign of happy, hungry yeast puffing up and getting pleasantly sour. I hid it away in the fridge for a couple of weeks, hoping to shame it into action, but all that happened was that a purpley liquid gathered on top. It met its grim fate with the compost pile and I turned to the Quick Teff Crepes recipe. (Thank you, Kittee, for including this for those of us who are crepe-challenged.) But even the quick crepes came with a small amount of stress. On the morning I decided to make them, I found that I’d forgotten to get sparkling water. So I used the next best thing: beer. With my teff and my chickpea flour and soy yogurt and beer, I made a warm and tender – if very homely – pile of crepes, ready for their savory, spicy accompaniments.
Teff Love is a cookbook of great variety, which for someone as unfamiliar with Ethiopian cuisine as I am (I’ve eaten it exactly twice before), comes as a great surprise. I have to say, I barely scratched the surface. Kittee serves up breakfast, snacks, soups and stews, veggies, salads, stir-fries, beverages, and desserts. One could get deeply lost in the recipes, happily munching on Ethiopian-inspired meals for weeks.
With Teff Love, Kittee has written the definitive book on vegan Ethiopian cooking and it is destined to become a classic right up there with Vegan With A Vengeance, Vegan Planet, and The Vegan Slow Cooker. Although there were a few bumps along the road for me, Kittee completely demystifies this cuisine and makes cooking for a crowd (or for two, as in the case with me and Kel) a fun and delicious adventure.
If you don’t yet have Teff Love and you live in the U.S., scroll down to enter the giveaway. Or, if you live elsewhere and you want to give injera (and everything else) a try, click here.
MOCHA TEFF BROWNIES
ETHIOPIAN MAC ‘N’ CHEESIE
- 1 cup teff flour, any variety
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 cups carbonated water
- 2/3 cup unsweetened plain vegan yogurt
- 6 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Put the teff flour, chickpea flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously to combine and to beat out any lumps in the chickpea flour. Add the carbonated water and vegan yogurt and whisk well to combine. When the griddle is hot, whisk in the vinegar to combine. The batter will rise and foam, and the consistency will be thin and reminiscent of chocolate milk.
- Form each crepe by using a 1/3-cup measure to scoop the batter from the bottom of the bowl and pour it into a disk on the hot pan. Use a spoon to quickly and lightly smooth the batter into a 6-inch disk, starting in the center and working in concentric circles until you reach the edges (keep the center of the crepe the thickest and the edges the thinnest; the crepe should be between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch thick).
- Cover and cook for 1 minute. The crepe should be dry on the top with a smattering of little holes over its surface. Uncover and continue to cook the crepe without turning it for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. The total cooking time for each crepe should be 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. When fully cooked, the crepe should be dry on the top with a few air-bubble holes, and the bottom should be firm, smooth, and lightly browned. Depending on your cookware and stove, you'll need to adjust the heat to achieve this result. Use a flat, flexible spatula to loosen and release the crepe, and then quickly transfer it to a plate and cover with a clean, dry tea towel. Repeat the cooking process until all the batter has been used. As the crepes are made, stack them on top of each other and keep them covered with the towel so they don't dry out.
- As they cool, the crepes will develop a spongy-stretchy texture. Let them rest until they're room temperature, then wrap the stack loosely in a clean, dry tea towel and seal in a Ziplock bag until serving time. Be sure the crepes are completely cool or the bag will collect moisture and they'll spoil. If you notice any condensation, open the bag to air it out.
QUICK TEFF CREPES
YE’ATER KIK ALICHA
YE’NECH BAKELA ALICHA
ETHIOPIAN MAC ‘N’ CHEESIE
EASY TEFF CREPES