The star ingredient of today’s recipe is Injera. What is that? It’s a sour Ethiopian flatbread made from the gluten-free grain, teff. Traditionally, the batter for the flatbread is fermented for so long that the final product, as Andrew Zimmern puts it, is putrid. Talk about some serious probiotics. I don’t think people have time to let the batter sit until rancid, which is great because I’m not too keen on trying out the finished product of that test of patience. At Whole Foods, the Injera that they sell is made from a batter that is soaked for 24 hours which results in a finished product that has a pleasant and enjoyable sourdough kick to it and a bunch of health benefits that you may not be aware of! Score!
Now, what are these awesome health benefits you may ask? Well, when grains and grain products (bread, tortillas, Injera, etc . . .) are fermented, meaning that the batter is left out to undergo various chemical reactions, they become more nutrient available and easier to digest.
Here are a few of the many benefits of consuming fermented grains/grain products:
- Increased nutrient availability of the grain due to the activation of the typically dormant enzyme phytase which helps break down phytates. Phytates are salts that are naturally present in grains and are bound to trace minerals found in grains, rendering them biologically unavailable and thus unabsorbed by the body. Fortunately, when phytase is activated, the phytates are broken down which then allows the absorption of trace minerals such as zinc, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron.
- Phytic acid, the unbound form of phytates, “not only grabs on to or chelates important minerals, but also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food, including pepsin, needed for the breakdown of proteins in the stomach, and amylase, needed for the breakdown of starch into sugar. Trypsin, needed for protein digestion in the small intestine, is also inhibited by phytates.” When the grain is fermented, the phytic acid is neutralized which inhibits the formation of insoluble phytate salts and allows maximal nutrient absorption.
- The gluten, a protein found in certain grains, is broken down through the processes of fermentation, and the final product can typically be consumed by gluten-sensitive individuals without the usual negative side effects.
- The sour tang associated with fermented grains indicates the presence of organic acids, a result of the fermentative process.
- Consumption of sourdough bread vs. whole wheat bread results in a lower rise in blood sugar which can last for several meals post sourdough consumption according to this article.
- It’s really tasty and it adds an other-wordly dimension of flavor to your food which automatically means that it’ll make you a super hero. At least in your head it will 😉
I know that was a decent amount of science, BUT it was nutritional science and that means that everything I just told you is totally and utterly relevant to your health. You can go out and buy a loaf of sourdough bread or Injera (and make my recipe) and experience not only the delicious flavor but the amazing health benefits as well! If that’s not instant gratification, I don’t know what is.
With that said, ladies and gentlemen I present to you my:
Sweet and Salty PB & Honey Injera Wrap
- Organic Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter (I use this brand)
- Raw Organic Honey (I use this brand)
- Himalayan Sea Salt (I use this brand)
- Injera (In the refrigerated tortilla section at Whole Foods)
- Take one piece of Injera (looks like a big crepe) and place on a glass plate and microwave it for 30-45 seconds.
- While the Injera is nice and hot, spread as much raw honey as desired all over the Injera. Because the Injera is so porous, it soaks up the honey like a sponge.
- After spreading on the raw honey, go ahead and add your peanut butter, as much or as little as you’d like.
- Sprinkle a bit of the sea salt for some extra sweet and salty contrast. If you’d like, you could also add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Roll up the Injera into a wrap and enjoy that porous, honey-laden, peanut butter saturated morsel of goodness! And remember, whatever it is that’s taking away from your peace of mind, forget it, and live in this moment of nirvana between you and your beloved wrap.
I’m notorious for pairing peanut butter on some pretty unconventional foods, but I can’t be the only one! What do you like to pair peanut butter with? What are some other strange food combinations that you enjoy?
Nagel, Ramiel. “Living With Phytic Acid.” Weston A Price Foundation. Weston A Price Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2013.
The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.