Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ancient Grains~ TEFF

Teff is an extremely tiny grain from the grass family grown mainly in Africa.  It is a staple in Ethiopian diet.  It comes in four types, white teff (magna), sergegna (mixture of red and white teff), dark red teff, and dark brown teff.  Teff is 12% protein, about  80% complex carbohydrates and has the highest amounts of lysine (except rice and oats.)  Teff has a high calcium and magnesium level, also contains high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, barium and thiamin.  It is considered to have a complete set of all 8 essential amino acids that humans need.  It is now being grown in the US and Australia.  It is also used as a healthy animal fodder.  Teff is a versatile grain.  It can be used alone as a cereal, as thickener in soups and gravies, or in baked goodies.  It has a tasty, nutty flavor.  In Ethiopia, its main use is as a hot cereal, to make injera bread, and a fermented type drink.

This is one of my family's new favorite foods!  We just love, love, love it.  The nutty flavor, the fillingness of it (if you have boys, you KNOW what I mean,) and the ease of cooking it.

2 cups teff flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TBSP arrowroot
½ tsp. real salt
2 TBSP coconut oil or olive oil
2 ¼ cup coconut milk (we like the vanilla, sweetened but unsweetened works too)
2-4 TBSP sugar, honey or sugar alternative
1 TBSP vanilla

Mix ingredients together.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes.  We use a cast iron pan on medium high heat, occasionally adding a bit of oil to the pan.  Makes 32 3 inch pancakes.  These freeze and reheat well.  To make a savory pancake for a “bun” omit sugars and use unsweetened milk.

Basic Hot cereal
1 cup Teff grain
3 cups filtered water

We like to “brown” our teff on a medium heat until it begins to “pop” and it gives off a nutty aroma.  Then add water and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  We eat this as a side dish at dinner or for breakfast with honey drizzled on it.  The longer it sits, the more it solidifies.  It can be eaten as a corn free version of polenta as well.

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