I never heard of this grain till I just watched a taped show of Dr. Oz. It was one of the foods he recommended for longevity. I just had to research it as I always love to learn new things to help me on my journey to a new me.
Teff is an ancient grain, minute in size, and packed with nutrition. Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC.
The grain has been widely cultivated and used in the countries of Ethiopia, India and it's colonies, and Australia. Teff is grown primarily as a cereal crop in Ethiopia where it is ground into flour, fermented for three days then made into enjera, a sourdough type flat bread. It is also eaten as porridge and used as an ingredient of home-brewed alcoholic drinks. The grass is grown as forage for cattle and is also used as a component in adobe construction in Ethiopia. At this time it is not widely known or used in the U.S., though it is cultivated in South Dakota and Idaho and is available in many health food stores.
Because the grains of teff are so small, the bulk of the grain consists of the bran and germ. This makes teff nutrient dense as the bran and germ are the most nutritious parts of any grain. This grain has a very high calcium content, and contains high levels of phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition, with lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Teff is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It contains no gluten so it is appropriate for those with gluten intolerance.
Teff grain is tiny when compared to wheat; it takes 150 grains of teff to equal one kernel of wheat. Teff is an excellent source of protein, amino acids and fiber. For instance, a 2-ounce serving of teff has 7 grams of protein, equal to an extra large egg. Teff is higher in calcium and iron content than wheat, rice, oats or millet.
The color of the Teff grains can be ivory, light tan to deep brown or dark reddish brown purple, depending on the variety. Teff has a mild, nutty, and a slight molasses like sweetness. The white teff has a chestnut-like flavor and the darker varieties are earthier and taste more like hazelnuts. The grain is somewhat mucilaginous. It is interesting that documents dated in the late 1800's indicate the upper class consumed the lighter grains, the dark grain was the food of soldiers and servants, and cattle consumed hay made from teff.
Teff is a very versatile grain. Teff flour can be used as a substitute for part of the flour in baked goods, or the grains added uncooked or substituted for part of the seeds, nuts, or other small grains. Due to it's small size, only 1/2 Cup of teff is needed to replace 1 cup of sesame seeds. It is a good thickener for soups, stews, gravies, and puddings and can also be used in stir-fry dishes, and casseroles. Teff may be added to soups or stews in either of two ways: 1) Add them, uncooked to the pot a half-hour before serving time. 2) Add them cooked to the pot 10 minutes before serving. Cooked teff can be mixed with herbs, seeds, beans or tofu, garlic, and onions to make grain burgers. The seeds can also be sprouted and the sprouts used in salads and on sandwiches.
To cook teff place 2 cups purified water, 1/2 cup teff, and 1/4 tsp. sea salt (optional) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.
Teff should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place in tightly covered containers such as glass jars. Cooked Teff can be kept in the refrigerator, but should be used within a few days.
The folowing two recipes adapted from packages of Arrowhead Teff.
1 cup cooked Teff
1/4 tsp. Sea salt
1 cup multigrain pancake mix or whole grain flour
1 cup water or enough to make pancake batter
1 tbsp. Oil (optional)
Mix all ingredients; cook on a hot oiled griddle.
For variations try adding nuts, berries, or apples to the batter.
Teff Carob Cookies
3/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup barley flour
1-1/2 tbsp. Carob powder
1/4 cup uncooked teff
1/4 cup molasses or maple syrup (or try brown rice syrup or agave syrup)
1/2 cup water or organic milk
1/4 tsp. Almond extract
Mix dry ingredients. Mix liquids. Combine mixtures. Drop small spoonfuls onto oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes.
For variations try adding nuts, seeds, and / or raisins to the dough.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Ingredients (Makes 24 Teff Cookies)
1 1/2 cups teff flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugars. Mix thoroughly.
In a food processor or using an electric mixer set on medium speed, mix the oil vanilla, and peanut butter.
Add flour mixture a 1/2 cup at a time to the peanut butter mixture. Blend well after each addition.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool 2 - 3 minutes before removing and placing them on wire racks to cool completely.
1 cup Teff grain, cooked
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup multigrain pancake mix
1 cup water (adjust for desired consistency)
1 tablespoon butter (for griddle)
In a medium bowl add cooked teff, salt, multigrain pancake mix. Mix thoroughly. Stir in water and blend well.
Add butter to griddle and warm over medium-hot heat. Form 4 inch pancakes out of the batter. Once bubbles form on the top of the pancakes, flip them over, and cook them on the other side for about 3 minutes. Continue until all the batter has been made into pancakes.
Substitutions and Additions
For more flavor consider adding berries, nuts, or apples to the batter.
(Serves 4 -6)
1 3/4 cups water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
7 cloves garlic, sliced thick
1 cup onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup green peppers, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup teff grain, uncooked
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
grated parmesan (garnishment)
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
In a 10-inch frying pan add the oil and warm over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peppers, and saute for 3 minutes or until peppers are bright green. Stir in the teff grain. Turn off the heat.
Add the boiling water and salt to the frying heat. Set heat to medium and simmer for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil.
Cover and continue simmering for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed. The polenta is done when the teff is no longer crunchy.
Place polenta on a 9 inch pie plate. Garnish with grated parmesan. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.