Canjeero/Anjero recipe (Somalian injera) | Somalia
“Canjeero?!“ I hear you say. “I’ve heard of Injera, but never canjeero, are you sure you’re not confused?”.
Very sure! In fact, canjeero (sometimes called anjero, canjeelo, lahoh or laxoox); and Injera are cousins. Whilst Injera is the famous Ethiopian food and method of eating; this is the Somalian version, also a staple in Djibouti and Yemen, and often found in Israel too.
Essentially what is considered to be a pancake in the Western world is the basis of most dishes and entire cuisines in parts of Africa.
Canjeero and injera do have a lot of similarities, however. Both are a fermented, pancake-like bread eaten as the base of the dish with other ingredients added on. They are also made with the same ingredients i.e. self-rising flour, baking powder, yeast.
However, there are some key differences to note. Canjeero is smaller, the taste is less sour, and it is only fermented for one day whereas injera is larger and usually fermented for a couple of days.
Canjeero is the most common breakfast food in Somalia and Somalians typically eat around 3 or 4 for breakfast, often accompanied by a cup of tea. It is commonly served drizzled with butter or ghee, and sugar.
It is also often eaten for lunch or dinner, usually accompanied by a curry, meat stew (maraq), soup, or liver and onions. Another way canjeero is eaten is with some sliced meat, garlic, onion, cumin and pepper.
In Somalia they will cook the pancake on a tava which is a circular, disc stove used frequently just for cooking canjeero. However, since most Westerners are unlikely to have a tava lying around, a conventional pan will suffice for making this recipe.
How to make Somalian canjeero recipe
- 1 cup white corn flour
- ½ cup sorghum flour
- 1 Tbsp Instant dry yeast
- 4 cups self-raising flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups lukewarm water
In a large bowl, mix the white corn meal, sorghum flour, yeast and half of the water, making sure it is properly combined. Leave for one hour.
After one hour add in the self-rising flour and sugar, then slowly start adding the remaining water as you mix to get a smooth, lump-less texture for your batter.
The key to achieving the classic anjero taste is fermentation. The mix should rest in a warm place to allow the fermentation to take place. The minimum time would be a few hours but to achieve a more authentic, sour anjero taste, you can let the batter ferment for up to two days. For this recipe you can let the batter ferment overnight.
In a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat, ladle the batter mix into the pan according to preferred portion size, making sure that the batter spreads fully across the surface of the pan.
Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes per portion. The desired colour is a golden brown, and the texture should be spongy with no liquid remaining.
Plate the pancake and continue process until you each person has around 3 each.
Refrigerate leftover batter and use for lunch or for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Somalians will make canjeero the night before they plan to eat it, so before going to bed you will often hear the slapping sounds of canjeero being prepared around the neighborhood.
To eat canjeero you simply tear off pieces and either eat it as it comes, or you scoop up sides with chunks of the pancake.
This method of eating is so quintessentially African and gives an excellent insight into the gastronomic culture in some of the more poorer regions where canjeero/injera is most popular. Typically, Somalian cuisine utilises rice and a particular range of spices such as cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and sage.
Somalian cuisine as a whole tends to be halal due to the predominant Islamic religion, similar to other Northern African regions, or Asian cuisines such as Bangladesh. This also means that pork is never eaten nor alcohol, and dinner is typically eaten at around 9pm after prayers.