I have a goal to try all the known grains, or at least all that I can get my hands on.
Teff is a teeny tiny chocolate brown grain that is most well-known for being the traditional grain that is used to make injera, the spongy fermented bread that is served at every Ethiopian restaurant.
Rebecca Wood in her cookbpok The Splendid Grain says she’s found no precedent for eating teff as a whole grain rather than ground to a flour, but that she serves it occasionally at very “adult” dinners. I tried her recipe for “steamed” teff which is really boiled teff, then you let it sit and “steam” afterwards.
1 cup whole tef
1 cup boiling water or stock
pinch of sea salt
gomasio for a garnish
Toast the tef in a hot skillet, stirring quickly, for 2 minutes, or until the sounds of popping grains is at its height. Pour the tef into a saucepan with boiling liquid, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 7 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with gomasio.
This is supposed to serve 2, but I thought it made 4 servings.
I’m not positive I followed the recipe correctly, because it turned out awful. The texture was like wet sand. So I looked on the web and they generally recommended adding much more water (3 to 1) and cooking it much longer (at least 20 minutes). With more water and another 20 minutes the teff turned into one large porridgey mass, which reminded me a lot of amaranth. The texture was similar since they both have all those tiny seeds, but the teff wasn’t quite as gooey, and the flavor was different. I thought the flavor was actually more mild than amaranth, and not unpleasant, but not exciting either.
I tried adding some cocoa powder and sweetener to the hot cereal. Blech. It was better plain with a little soymilk.
This morning I had it cold with soymilk and some Ezekiel-brand “grapenuts”. It was pretty nice. It seemed healthier than eating just grapenuts, but the addition of grapenuts gave it some much needed crunch. The textural contrast was quite enjoyable.
I’m definitely going to buy teff again and keep experimenting, but nothing I’ve tried so far has really excited me.
Nutritional Info for Teff
Teff Whole Grain (uncooked)
Serving Size 1/4 cup (45g)
Calories from Fat 5.00
Total Fat 1.00g
Saturated Fat 0.00g
Total Carbohydrate 33.00g
Dietary Fiber 6.00g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
The vitamins and minerals are based on 1/2 cup Teff flour, which was a guess. The only grains I know of that have more iron are quinoa (3.6g for 160 calories), amaranth (3.3g for 160 calories), and wheat germ (2.8g for 160 calories). The web claims that Teff is a good source of niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, boron, phosphorous and potassium. Another cool thing about teff is that it is too small to remove the bran or germ, so when you’r eating teff you know you’re always eating a whole grain.
I’d like to try cooking with teff flour, and also using the teff like poppyseeds in baking.