During my trip to Ethiopia, I ate a lot of firfir. The best version I tried utilised dates against a backdrop of rich tomato and berbere gravy soaked injera. The firfir recipe below, although not exactly the same (sometimes location is half of the flavour), is in memory of that dish. The rich dates are a genius addition because a) dates are fruit and hence a superfood, whatever that is, and b) sugar is a great fire quencher.
Injera can be made from barley, millet, wheat, sorghum, rice, and wheat, and teff flours. What you are likely to find in restaurants in London is injera made from teff and wheat, or a combination of the two (most common). The gluten free injera does not last as well and will start to fall apart after just a day (and does not freeze as well), which makes it ideal for firfir.
If you aren’t sure where to find injera, ask your local Ethiopian or Eritrean restaurant and they will probably sell it to you. I’ve previously bought it from Adulis in Brixton for 70p per piece.
Vegan Ethiopian Firfir with Dates
Firfir is a great way to use up day old or stale injera, so reserve the driest bread for this recipe. The sweetness imparted by the dates softens the fiery burn from the berbere.
- 1 injera torn into pieces
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 40 grams (1/3 cup) diced purple onions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon berbere paste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 10-15 very soft dates, seeded and halved or cut
- Green jalapeño chilli, sliced thinly
- Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and salt to sweat for about five minutes, until they become translucent. Add the oil and garlic, cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
- In a small bowl whisk together the water, wine, berbere, tomato paste, and lemon juice. Tip the liquid into the pan and stir to combine with the onions and garlic. Add the dates and cook for another minute.
- Carefully stir the injera pieces through the sauce, trying not to break them up as you stir.
- Tip onto a plate and top with the jalapeño slivers.
- Author: Kip Dorrell
- Serves: 2
- Cuisine: Ethiopian