Another geography lesson for me here. After first learning how to pronounce Djibouti, I then managed to find it on a map, sandwiched between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somali. It’s physically very close to the middle East, and is a former French colony, so I was expecting a range of culinary influences. I’ve eaten Ethiopian food a few times now as it seems to be becoming a little more mainstream, and I love it; I was glad to see Djibouti has a similar flat bread to Ethiopian Injera which I absolutely love, although the Djiboutian version is thinner and is called lahoh or canjeero (I’m not sure of the difference). The main meals seem to be rice and meat stews. I found a nice sounding one called Skoudekaris which is lamb, flavoured with onion, tomato, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon and cayenne, but bizarrely I can only find it on the blogs of people doing similar projects to me so I can’t vouch for its authenticity. There’s not that much about on the internet about Djiboutian food….
I set the canjeero dough going a couple of nights ago; it’s just flour and water mixed. As the flour contains natural wild yeasts it will start to ferment much like a sour-dough would.
I cooked the meat last night; browned about 1lb of diced lamb off with a chopped onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, and threw in cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon and cayenne. Once browned, I added a can of tomatoes and but the dish in the oven. After about 20 mins I added a cup of rice and left it back in the oven to cook the rice.
Tonight we made came to make the canjeero…. I’ve made injera before which did ferment and had a lovely sour smell and taste but this mixture didn’t seem to want to wake up and do anything. Maybe it’s a little cold in our house? It did snow today! Anyway… there were no signs of fermentation when we came back tonight so we watered it down slightly and added some bicarb as a cheat and fried it off. It worked ok – nowhere near as lovely as injera but a decent substitute. We ate using our fingers, tearing off bits of canjeero and mopping up the delicious lamb, rice and spices. This was one of my favourite Eaternational meals and I’ll definitely make it again.