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Friday, August 20, 2010

S.F. Rising: Teff Injera at Moya

Posted By on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:58 PM

All-teff injera can be ordered with any entree at Moya for $2 extra. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • All-teff injera can be ordered with any entree at Moya for $2 extra.
A weekly survey of bread in San Francisco ― the baked and the fried, the

artisan and the novelty.

Teff Injera

Source:

Moya, 1044 Folsom (at Russ), 431-5544, www.eatmoya.com.
Price: $2 extra with meal

Toast-appropriateness: 1/10.

Moya, a six-week-old Ethiopian cafe-restaurant in SOMA, clearly has a sense of its potential clientele. The decor is spare and contemporary, the vegetarian dishes on its menu can easily be made vegan (substituting spiced oil for the spiced butter used for cooking many dishes), and the restaurant advertises its all-teff injera as "gluten-free."

All the Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants in the area serve their meals on a plate of spongy, sour, injera, and many make their bread in house. Moya is the first Bay Area Ethiopian restaurant I've been to that makes two kinds of injera ― a basic flatbread made with a combination of wheat and teff flours and a second, all-teff variety, which costs $2 extra.

Rolls of injera. - VIRTUALERN/FLICKR
Teff, one of the tiniest of all cultivated grains, has been cultivated in Africa for up to 6,000 years. In the United States, it is particularly expensive, which is why most restaurants blend it with wheat or other grains, such as barley.
 
Owner Fana Alemayehu's teff injera is darker and firmer than her mixed-grain bread, its flavor earthier. While some of the all-teff injeras I've bought at Ethiopian markets have a cheek-contracting sourness, Moya's teff bread is less tangy than the house variety ― which has to do with the length of fermentation, not the grain itself. I ordered the bread as part of a vegetarian lunch plate, and immediately zeroed on the gomen (greens), tearing off swaths of the injera and using the bread to scoop up the greens with dollops of tangy ayib, Alemayehu's housemade cottage cheese.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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