Teff, indigenous to Ethiopian highlands, is highly nutritious wholegrain that is quickly gaining popularity. On account of its high protein content, this ancient grain has come in for considerable attention. Small as a poppy seed with a nutty, grainy taste, Teff is one of the world's smallest grains. Teff is derived from 'Teffa' an Amharic word for 'lost'. The grain is so small that once dropped it is likely to be lost. Nearly Three thousand grains of Teff weigh one gram! Teff grains can grow in the harshest of conditions; from sea level to even 3000 meters altitude.
In Ethiopia, Teff is essentially used for making injera, traditional flat bread made with fermented teff flour. Interestingly, Ethiopians use injera as an edible serving plate on which delicious stews and vegetables are served. Teff is also used to produce alcoholic beverages such as tell and katikala. Teff, Eragrostis teffin Latin is a grass unique to Ethiopia in that it was not cultivated anywhere else in the world till a few years ago. As it is so tiny, it is labor intensive to harvest and process in its native place.
Teff nutritive value
Teff is an excellent source of protein and fiber. A quarter-cup of uncooked Teff offers 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 25 % of our daily recommended magnesium, 20 % of daily recommended iron and 10% of your daily calcium with good amount of Vitamin B6 and zinc.
To put it in the right perspective, Teff contains 11 % protein, 80 % complex carbohydrates and 3 % fat.
It is also an excellent source of iron, potassium and other essential minerals.
Teff contains high amounts of amino acids, especially lysine which is not commonly found in grains.
Teff is high in calcium (one cup contains 12% of daily recommended value.) and a good source of vitamin C. It is also gluten free and can be a great option for those who are gluten sensitive or suffering from celiac disease.
Teff contains generous amount of high resistance starch which is useful in preventing colon cancer. This type of starch does not get digested easily in the small intestine but further goes to the large intestine and gets processed there slowly. This process discourages the harmful bacteria from thriving on the large intestine and is ideal for maintaining colon health.
Teff is very rich in dietary fiber, thereby aiding blood-sugar management and weight control. If we look at its composition, it contains 11% protein, 80% complex carbohydrate and 3% fat, making it ideal for weight watchers. Teff is also low in sodium and we all know that low sodium levels are good for our hearts.
Teff is highly versatile and can be incorporated into various recipes effortlessly. It is also quick to cook and is an ideal choice for people on the go. Teff can be cooked on its own or combined with other grains and vegetables. Teff is consumed either as a grain or as flour.
It acts as a healthy binder for soups, stews and gravies. Its mild and nutty taste makes it a good alternative to add to breads, biscuits, cookies, cakes, stir fry dishes, casseroles, soups, stews, and puddings. Traditionally Teff is fermented slightly before use. A fermented teff offers optimum nutrition when compared to the plain cooked teff. However fermentation lends a sour taste to teff. Today teff is used in recipes beyond the traditional. Teff waffles, wraps and bakes are available.
Injera - Ethiopian Pan cake like Flat bread
3 cup Teff flour
4 cup warm water
Salt as per taste
Oil as needed
Mix the teff flour with water in a tall narrow vessel. Tie a white cotton cloth in the neck and leave this to ferment in a warm room (temperature around 25 - 35 degree C) for about 3 days.
Add salt as per your taste. Set a large wide (around 20 inch diameter) iron skillet on the stove in high heat. Spray oil on the surface. Apply the batter (should be of thin consistency) across the surface and spread evenly. Cook until it forms bubbles on the surface. Remove the Injera with a flat spoon. Serve with Stews.
Injera is akin to Asian South Indian Dosa which is made of rice flour. Dosas are served with Sambar, a kind of lentil stew.
Teff porridge is a simple and basic version of cooking the grain.
3 cups water
1 cup Teff
Salt to taste
Dry roast one cup of teff in a pan for five minutes. Combine the roasted teff with three cups of water in a pot. Boil the mixture on a low heat for about 20 minutes stirring it occasionally. Add a pinch of cinnamon to the porridge. Switch off the flame once the water is completely absorbed. Now it is ready to be eaten.
Porridge can be made even more nutritious by adding few nuts and fruits. Apple and dates make an interesting combination to be added to the porridge.
2 cups of brown teff flour
2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon
baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
sea salt 1 tablespoon
cinnamon 2 cups
soy milk 1/2 cup
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon honey
Heat a medium sized skillet over moderate heat. Take a large bowl and mix the teff flour with salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Take another bowl and whisk the eggs in it. Slowly add soy milk, apple sauce, maple syrup and honey to the whisked egg. Now add all the dry ingredients to the egg mixture to make a smooth batter.
Grease the heated skillet with one teaspoon oil and pour one scoop of batter. Cook for 2 minutes on one side, then turn the pancake and cook for one more minute on the other side. Apply little oil on the other side too. Take it off the skillet when golden brown. Drizzle maple syrup over the pancake.
Fruity Muffins with teff
1 cup teff flour
1/2 cup brown rice
flour 11/2 tsps
Baking powder 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon powder One pinch
Nutmeg powder 1/4 tsp
2 large eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup shredded apple
1/2 cup mixed nuts chopped
1/2 cup raisins
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust and coat a muffin tin. Combine the flour with cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, baking powder and salt. In a second bowl whisk the eggs and mix milk, olive oil. Add chopped and shredded apple and blue berries to the mixture. Now add all the dry ingredients into this mixture along with the nuts and whisk it well. Pour the mixture into the muffin tins and bake them in an oven for 30 minutes.