What is it?
This little grain (the smallest grain in the world in fact), native to the northern Ethiopian Highlands, is making its way around at the moment, but what exactly is teff? Well, some have branded it the “ultimate gluten free grain”, and that it is soon to give quinoa a run for its money. Now yes, it is most definitely gluten free, but lets talk more about what makes this little gluten free grain so special next to the others.
Teff’s nutritional profile is definitely an impressive one, with 1 cup (198g) of uncooked teff offering 347mg of calcium to improve bone health and relax the symptoms of PMS, 355g of magnesium to aid in muscle repair and healthy sleep, 14g of iron to encourage the production of vitamin B12 and 25g of protein to aid in muscle growth and repair, and that’s without talking its fibre content. With over 15g of fibre per cup of uncooked teff, you will definitely be feeling fuller for longer, as well as receiving a big thank you from your digestive system! While other grains such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and millet are all good sources of either fibre, or calcium, or magnesium etc. Teff manages to combine all of what makes these other grains so good to produce one ‘super grain’.
What to do with it?
Next you might be wondering what you “do” with teff. Well in its original grain form, cooking does not differ massively from other grains such as quinoa, rice, couscous etc. However, since the teff grain is so fine, its cooked texture can be quick lumpy and sticky compared to other grains. Teff also has a slight nutty taste, making it great for savoury meal, or to make a nutty porridge. 1 cup of teff grain should be cooked with 3 cups of water, milk or stock, depending on what dish you are making. Teff, like many other grains, absorbs water well and expands in size when cooked. 1 cup of uncooked teff grain will yield 4 cups of cooked teff grain. Needless to say, teff goes a long way.
Can I bake with it?
As with most grains, it comes available as a flour, and so yes you can. It’s great for baking, and can easily be substituted into recipes that use buckwheat flour and brown rice flour. I’ve baked with teff flour many times, and the most noticeable different from using other gluten free flours is how full I felt after. As mentioned, teff has a high fibre content, and so you will fuller for longer. My recipe for a pecan and banana loaf is made with teff flour, and one piece really is enough to satisfy any feelings of hunger between meals. I find I don’t get the same feeling when baking with other flours.
Where can I buy it?
Unfortunately teff is not common among supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Waitrose. Wholefoods, Planet Organic, Holland & Barrett (larger stores) and independent health food stores are the places to look if you are out and about on the highroad. However, if you do not have any of these stores near to you, then the internet is the way to go. A lot of companies that have highroad stores have an online ordering system, or failing that, online supermarket Amazon will have everything you need.