Have you heard of Teff yet?
Have you heard about Teff? If not read on, because it’s the king of grains according to superfood fanatics. Teff is the traditional grain of Ethiopia and the smallest in the world. Powerful little Teff is relatively new as a superfood favourite but has actually been used in traditional Ethiopian cooking for generations due to its versatility and the fact that it uses far less land for cultivation than wheat.
It takes 1lb of teff grain to grow an acre of teff, but you need 100lb of wheat grain to grow an acre of wheat
Teff is a gluten free grain with a mildly nutty flavour. It comes in a variety of forms, such as white or ivory which has a mild flavour, and darker versions which have an earthier taste. The health benefits of Teff are endless... the grain leading the charge in calcium content with a cup of cooked Teff offering the same amount of calcium as half-cup of cooked spinach. It also has a high resistant starch which is a newly discovered type of dietary fibre that can benefit blood-sugar management, one of the key balance challenges for western society! Not to mention that it’s ideal for gluten free cooking.
Most Ethiopians ground Teff into a flour, ferment it and make a spongy sourdough bread known as Injera, however it can also be used for making porridge, crepes, pancakes and other baked goods. Injera also replaces plates and cutlery in Ethiopia - it sits under the traditional 'wat', or thick spicy stew, and is used to scoop up all the sauce at the end. To make injera, you mix the flour with water and leave it for days to ferment - it's crazy how it bubbles and turns sour.
But the teff we've been experimenting with has not come from Ethiopia. Much like quinoa in Peru, the growing worldwide demand sent teff prices in Ethiopia soaring, so in 2005 the government prohibited exports of the grain. The embargo has made teff a fairly expensive grain for the rest of the world though. We buy a lot of these unusual grains on Healthy Supplies.
Our injera interpretation and other Teff recipes are coming soon!