Fir fir, dried injera reconstituted in a spicy, garlicky, tomato sauce, should be on every Ethiopian restaurant’s menu – breakfast lunch and dinner. Despite rumors that fir fir served in restaurants is made by re-using the discarded injera from customers’ plates, this spicy staple has become one our family’s favorite. As expected, everyone’s fir fir tastes just a little bit different. Our cook, Meskerem’s take is the best I’ve had. It’s good on its own, with an extra side of injera, with fried eggs, or surprisingly, atop a pile of whole wheat pasta. Today I watched her make it and here’s exactly what she did.
1/3 cup oil
3 onions, diced small
1 head of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
3 heaping tablespoons of berbere spice
1 1/2 cup water
more salt to taste (for us, about 1/4 tsp)
2 dried injera*
1. Heat the oil and add the onions, garlic and salt.
2. Cook on medium high heat until the onions begin to brown.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes.
4. Turn the heat to medium low. Add the berbere and continue to cook. The tomatoes will start to cook down. Simmer while stirring for about 10 minutes.
5. Add the water. When the water comes to a boil, the fir fir is done.
6. Add more salt to taste.
7. Add the dried injera to re-constitute it — a little of a time, until you reach the desired consistency and the sauce is absorbed. Adding too much will make it dry. Add too little, and it will be watery.
*Note: Fresh injera can be dried out by placing it in a warm oven for 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and turn off the heat. Place roughly torn pieces of injera onto a sheet pan and into the oven.