Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 47- Republic of Djibouti (Djibouti)(AF)- Harira Stew and Injeera Flat Bread - Up Next, Dominica (Roseau)(NA)

Republic of Djibouti(Djibouti)(AF)- is a small East African country on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The country gained independence from France on June 27th, 1977 and is the successor to the former 'French Somaliland'.  The population is divided into two main groups, the Issa (or Somali) people and the Afar. The remainder of the populace is formed by Europeans (mostly French and Italians), Arabs and Ethiopians. Tensions between the Afar and Issa led to the civil war of the early 1990s. Djibouti is a Muslim country and French and Arabic are its official languages, though Somali and Afar are also widely spoken.
Facing, as it does, the narrowest point of the Persian Gulf Djibouti lies in a strategic position. It has been used as a landing point for vessels following the Spice Trade for many centuries. As a result, as well as native cuisines (which are very similar to those of neighbouring Ethiopia) Djibouti also has strong Arabic, Indian and British influences. The Portugese also brought the techniques of roasting and marinating foods to this country. Arabs introduced saffron, cinnamon, pomegranate juice and other spices to the country and exotic Asian fruit like pineapple, lemon, orange and limes as well as New World foods like bell peppers, chillies, tomatoes and maize are common.

Celery, Cilantro, Parsley and Onions - from my garden (except the onions)

Cumin, Saffron, Chicken, Cilantro, Parsley and Onions - mmmmm....

I can't use up my tomatoes fast enough!

These are so sweet, I'm thinking about having them for breakfast with a little sugar on 'em

Chick Peas-Djibouti cooking has a definite Middle Eastern influence

I have no idea why sparkling water is called for in the recipe, but it tastes great and bubbles

Angel hair Pasta (I think I may have added a little too much-the recipe simply said "a handful")

Injeera Bread - EASY to make and delicious - great to clean your bowl with
I put this picture in because I love this apron (a Christmas present from Mom and Michael <3)

Not the best picture of the finished product - sorry! I gotta work on my technique

Like Ethiopia, the Djiboutienne staple is a flatbread called Injeera, which is used to wrap various meat and vegetable dishes.

This recipe approximates the true injera, which is made from a fermented sourdough batter. Most recipes don't call for the lemon juice, but I find it necessary to supply the essential sour flavor that real injera adds to a meal.

6 to 8 crepes
  • All-purpose flour -- 1 1/2 cups
  • Whole wheat flour -- 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder -- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Club soda -- 2 to 2 1/2 cups
  • Lemons, juice only -- 2 each


  1. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over a medium flame. Mix the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the club soda and mix to a smooth batter. It should have the thin consistency of a pancake batter.
  2. Wipe the skillet with a little oil using a paper towel. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the batter into the skillet and spread it with a spatula to make a large crepe. Let bake in the skillet until all the bubbles on top burst and begin to dry out, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Carefully turn the injera over and cook on second side another minute or two. Try not to brown it too much.
  4. Remove the injera to a warm platter and repeat with the rest of the batter, wiping the skillet clean with an oiled paper towel each time.
  5. After the batter is used up, brush each injera with the lemon juice. Serve immediately or hold covered in a warm oven.


1 onion, chopped
A pound and a half of steak, chicken or veal, cut up into bite-size pieces
1 cup of lentils
1 can chickpeas
1 28 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
3 lemons, quartered
1 cup chopped celery
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 pinch saffron
3/4 cup sifted flour
2 cups water
1 large handful of angel-hair pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
2 litters of sparkling water

Add oil to a large pot with meat, cumin, saffron, cilantro, parsley, onion, celery, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes then add the sparkling water and cook for a further 10 minutes. (I’m not sure what the sparkling water is suppose to do) Add lentils and chickpeas and cook for 50 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for another 20 minutes. Mix the flour with 2 cups of cold water and mix well with a whisk to get out any lumps. Pour this mixture into the pot stirring all the time. Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with lemon.

   Final Assessment: Very tasty, although not my favorite African dish. The stew was filling and satisfying and the injeera bread was fun to make and eat - reminded me of Etheopian bread I had once in a great little restaurant in Central Square.


Patty said...

I love checking in with your daily recipe. Looks Delicious !

Patty said...

I love checking in with your daily recipe.... Sarah it looks delicious !

Kate said...

sounds yummy and pretty easy to make a vegetarian version!!