Recipe: Sudanese Kisra | Sorghum Crepes

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I never thought I’d need a cow’s brain and a credit card for this lil’ ol’ Global Table Adventure of ours.

The thing is, if I were to make Kisra in the most authentic way – the South Sudanese way –  that’s exactly what I’d need.

Locals would use the cow’s brain,  which is naturally quite fatty, to grease the pan. I got the tip on good authority; from this amazing South Sudanese food post on Green Shakes in Sudan. There you’ll find photos of local women rubbing brain renderings on their flat griddle-like pan.

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According to The World Cookbook for Students, unroasted sesame oil works fine as well… and gives the wholesome crepe a clean sort of flavor and makes them entirely vegan.

I know what I chose…. what would you choose?

Now, let’s talk credit cards.

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I read several passages that indicate locals spread out the kisra batter with credit cards. I had a small plastic scraper that worked just fine… but the credit card would definitely add a touch of excitement (will it or won’t it melt?!). The important thing is for it to be small and easy to move around the pan at a 30 degree angle (as Keith demonstrates above).

Brian Schwartz, who you’ll recognize from his thoughtful and informative comments, joined our Global Table this week… he had fun trying his hand at Kisra making, too.

Hi, Brian!

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Tip #1: The South Sudanese collect any “mistakes” to ferment into a boozy drink. Waste not, want not!

Tip #2: I learned from first-hand experience that, if you use all Sorghum flour, the crepes crack and fall apart. Including some all-purpose flour is critical (and even makes it easier to spread on the griddle). Nonstick pans are also best for beginners.

Here’s some locals showing how it’s done:

Makes at least 8 (depending how big you make them).

Ingredients:

2 cups sorghum flour
1 1/2 cups water, plus 1 cup, or as needed
1 cup all purpose flour
unroasted sesame see oil or the rendered fat from cow brain

Method:

First, find a lovely vista  in South Sudan from which to cook, where the green and the rock meets the blue and the cloud.

Panoramic from the top of Mount Kinyeti in South Sudan, looking further into the country. Photo by AIMikhin.

Panoramic from the top of Mount Kinyeti in South Sudan, looking further into the country. Photo by AIMikhin.

Next, mix the sorghum flour with 1 1/2 cups water and let sit overnight (at least 12 hours).

Take a long walk through that misty mountain while you wait.

The next day stir in the  all purpose flour and last cup of water, to form a thin batter.

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Ladle some kisra batter into a greased pan over medium heat. Immediately take a credit card or small scraper and, holding it at a 30 degree angle, spread the batter around smoothly. This can take some practice. Feel free to eat the works in progress.

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When the edges begin to curl up like a smile, the kisra is done. This should only take a minute or so.

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Stack them on a plate and keep warm with a towel. After they cool, they’re quite a bit more sturdy… and are less likely to break or crack… you’ll even be able to bend and curl them, like so:
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Serve the wholesome, snappy kisra with any thick, hearty stew (recipe coming soon!).

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Enjoy the delicious, whole grain flavor with a smiling friend, old or new.

Woman from South Sudan. Photo by COSV.

Woman from South Sudan. Photo by COSV.

Thanks South Sudan!

P.S. Have you ever used – or even heard of – Sorghum flour? This was a first for me (I had never even heard of it), so I’m eager for more ideas on how to use the flour.

 

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Comments

  1. I am always amazed at your ability to make these flatbreads! My first (and only) attempt at injera ended in disaster. I have a friend whose mother is from Ethiopia and she told me to not even try anymore because, after a lifetime of making injera, she still makes mistakes sometimes. When I return to the US eventually, I am going to retry injera and add laxoox, kisra, and the other flatbreads you’ve made to my attempt-at-least-twice list!

  2. if you only use Sorghum it will fall apart since there are no gluten to hold it together.
    I bake glutenfree so might try adding Chiaseed gel or Xantan gum.

    What do you think of the flavour?

    I am not to keen on Sorghum because of the bitter flavour.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I didn’t find it bitter at all… hmm… it reminded me a bit of whole wheat flour. I wonder if you had an expired bag of it?

  3. I used sorghum flour in GF breads I baked for a friend. Great post, and that’s probably a better use for many a credit card :)

  4. Please, don’t do this to me! Now on top of all the flours I have staring at me from the pantry, you will make me go in search of sorghum flour… (sigh, sigh, sigh)

    awesome recipe, I love this kind of concoction, and dream about what it would taste like, the texture…

    looking foward to the stew recipe next!

    • aunty eileen says:

      haha sally. I think we should be able to go to store and just buy a cup or two of what we need…. or maybe the travelling spice and flour seller would stop at your doorstep once a week… :-)

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Ha! Go for it… what’s another bag of flour among all that? ;)

  5. Irmtraud Kemmeter says:

    Well, as far as I know, sorghum is a kind of millet, you can use it in baking recipes for rolls, pies, cakes and other breads, It makes rolls, etc. a bit crisper. You also may use it to thicken gravies and soups!
    Have fun!!!

  6. Brian S. says:

    Oh I love this kisra. Here’s Azande music to go with it…

    http://www.myspace.com/0/music-player?songid=49500784

  7. How fun to see a picture of Brian! I’ve been reading his wonderful insights for over a year now and its so nice to know the face that goes with the words!

  8. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google,
    and found that it is really informative. I am gonna watch out for
    brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future.
    Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  9. sorghum is the best sudanese bread iv’e tryed any way

  10. Michelle says:

    Hi Sasha
    I have recently discovered your site & am so enjoying traveling through your meals. Most South Africans know sorghum flour as maltabela & we eat it as a porridge for breakfast.
    Many thanks, Michelle

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