Try the African Cookbook
July 9, 2008 12:00 PM   Subscribe

The African Cookbook is a compilation of recipes from 9 countries in Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, Sudan and Tanzania & Zanzibar. As well as a handful of recipes each section has short chapters on how food is served in each country. For more recipes and information go to Try African Food.
posted by Kattullus (19 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I was really hopeful about this, but the first recipe I looked up (for injera) calls for buckwheat pancake mix, at which point I went from hopeful to skeptical and snobby and slightly off-put.

Still worth a wary browse, though.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:26 PM on July 9, 2008

I should clarify. The background/cultural info is really fascinating. And the recipes are probably great for approximating general flavors in a particular culture's dish. But it's really hard to find good, authentic recipes for African dishes, and these doen't seem to be all that authentic, judging from the pancake mix metric. But it's still a really neat site!
posted by mudpuppie at 12:29 PM on July 9, 2008

After reading some more, my favorite is the second Kenyan recipe, Steak and Irio. It calls for canned peas, canned corn, instant mashed potatoes, and onion soup mix.

Turns out my mom was cooking Kenyan for my entire childhood, and I never knew it.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:41 PM on July 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

Well, in the case of the injera Sandler's looking for a substitute for tef, which is hard to find in the US now and was probably impossible in 1993 when the book was written. That said, the Try African Food site has less adapted recipes, as far as I can tell.

The idea of The African Cookbook is that its African recipes most every American can cook in their homes. Also, since it's from 1993, it's somewhat dated.
posted by Kattullus at 12:42 PM on July 9, 2008

Bob to the rescue! Teff.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:45 PM on July 9, 2008

Mudpuppie - re the injera, that was my reaction too. I've been trying to find a good injera recipe. I even bought some teff, the grain that is actually used in Ethiopia but now I can't find a recipe. I'm wondering if I can mill it in my food processor or coffee grinder but then what...
posted by shoesietart at 12:47 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think Bob's is the brand of teff I have but it's whole grain not flour. This gets me one step closer.
posted by shoesietart at 12:53 PM on July 9, 2008

The Congo Cookbook was the subject of a FPP, I think, and has what look to my inexpert eyes to be a much better selection of recipes.
posted by Forktine at 12:54 PM on July 9, 2008

Marilee's teff page has a few recipes for injera.
posted by Kattullus at 12:54 PM on July 9, 2008


In a glass bowl, mix teff flour with water until it's the consistency of a thin pancake batter. Add about a half teaspoon of salt. Cover with a towel and let sit overnight, unrefrigerated. Bubbles should form, indicating that it's fermenting. It should smell slightly sour, like sourdough starter, but should not smell bad or 'off'.

Heat a large nonstick pan or nonstick electric skillet. Ladle in batter and cook until the top is spongy. Do not flip. Remove from pan and roll to keep warm. Repeat.

posted by mudpuppie at 12:55 PM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

Thanks for injera recipe and recipe links.
posted by shoesietart at 1:36 PM on July 9, 2008

If you make your own injera using just teff flour, know that it probably won't turn out like that injera you're used to at your local Ethiopian restaurant. They usually make injera out of a mixture of teff and wheat flour. (Or, at least, most places do.)

Also: my boyfriend regularly makes Ethiopian honey wine and he's never used hops. But, beyond that, a recipe for wine that calls for no fermentation has something wrong with it.
posted by Ms. Saint at 2:00 PM on July 9, 2008

Great, now I'm hungry.
posted by sour cream at 2:18 PM on July 9, 2008

Very nice!
posted by caddis at 2:20 PM on July 9, 2008

I was really hopeful too, so I clicked on the Ethiopia link. Apparently, the women there have exquisite facial bone structure.

Interesting, but no thanks.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 2:58 PM on July 9, 2008

Shoesietart, there's a small Eritrean community in San Jose, and I think the store next to Gojo restaurant has teff flour. If you ever go to Massawa on Haight you might want to ask whether they know a retailer who carries it.

Also, yum.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:20 PM on July 9, 2008

No need to go to San Jose. Rainbow Grocery has teff in their bulk section.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:48 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm jealous of your tef availability.

Over here, all the Ethiopians seem to have settled in Melbourne, and even there, the restaurants I've visited have used a bastard mix for their injera, based on some kind of buckwheat sourdough batter. It's vaguely similar to real injera, but only in the same way that you might make your own sashimi by chopping up some random raw river fish.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:06 PM on July 9, 2008

For anyone looking for teff, Bob's Red Mill also has an online store.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:16 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

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