Taste of a South Sudan presents an easy step by step instructions on how to make kisra. Kisra is the staple food of Sudan, and the second staple food of South Sudan, after Asida. It is a thin leavened bread made from fermented sorghum flour and small amounts of wheat flour. To make kisra, Sudanese flatbread recipe, a thin layer of fermented kisra mix called Ajin is spread over a heated greased flat pan. After cooking for a minute or two, flip the kisra over and spread it on a plate, layer after layer, as seen in the photo above. For a video demonstration, visit “How to make kisra” by Taste of South Sudan on youtube. Sudanese and South Sudanese eat kisra as starch for lunch and dinner. The sourness and sponginess of this flatbread goes well with molokhia stew, bamia stew and lamb stew with carrots and potatoes.
HOW TO MAKE KISRA
Mix 2 cups of whole sorghum flour and 2 cups of water. Cover and set to ferment for 12-24 hours. Fermentation is complete when bubbles appear in the ajin, and the ajin tastes sour. Fermentation is accelerated by humidity and heat such as found in Khartoum, Sudan, or in Juba, South Sudan. In colder environments, such as in the winters of the western hemisphere, fermentation takes more time. After the ajin has fermented, add 1 cup of wheat flour and 1 cup of water and mix well.
Traditionally, kisra is cooked on a flat metal pan is balanced over either stones or on a “konun.” “Konun” is a Sudanese charcoal stove. Burning charcoal that is spread evenly inside the “konun” supplies the heat. Most times the metal pan is balanced on four stones. Then straw or reeds are set on fire and fed intermittently to maintain an even heat. The cook sits on a low stool and simultaneously feeds and maintains the fire, while making the kisra. Anyone who has cooked kisra this way knows the discomfort of sitting near fire, and having hands or feet burnt. An electric griddle, like this one shown below or similar, makes cooking kisra a painless experience.
Preheat the pan. Set your electric griddle to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees celsius.) Grease the pan with oil. Traditionally, Sudanese use sautéed brain of a cow (tayuq), to grease the pan. Scoop 1/3 cup of ajin, spread one swoop onto top third of the pan. Use a plastic spreader to spread the ajin evenly over the pan using left-right sweeping motions. Refer to the “How to make Kisra” video for a demonstration by Taste of South Sudan.
Making Kisra. Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto top third of electric flat pan. Then spread evenly over entire pan in right to left motions using the rectangular shaped plastic tool pictured below.
After spreading the ajin, within 1 to 2 minutes it will start to rise and lift up from the edges. Lift the kisra from one edge, and in 1 motion flip onto a flat plate. Layer, then fold into individual rectangular kisra leaves. Serve with your favorite stew.
Mastering cooking kisra takes time and practice. There are multiple variables. First; the consistency of the ajin. It cannot be too thick, nor too thin, otherwise it will not spread evenly. Second; the fermentation process. The ajin must be sufficiently fermented; it is carbon dioxide gas rising out of the ajin that creates the sponginess and lifts the batter. Third; maintain a constant temperature of your pan. This was a challenge to accomplish when using straw or charcoal as the heat source. Fourth; spread the ajin evenly over the pan. It takes months of experience to get this right.