Teff grain - have you used it before?

what is teff? - how can you use it? - how to cook it - teff flour

Some gluten free grains, such as Teff grain, may seem strange to us, but are part of the staple diet in another part of the world. If you lived in Ethiopia you would eat it every day, as your traditional sour-dough bread, Injera or Enjera, is made from it.

Or you might eat is as a porridge or even use it when preparing home brewed alcohol.

Grinding teff grain into flour

So what is Teff grain?

Teff is a form of grass. It has a fine stem and grows annually. It is native to Ethopia and Eritrea where it has been grown for centuries.

The grains are the smallest in the world. A single grain of wheat weighs the same as 150 teff grains!

Because they are so small, it is not possible to remove parts of the grain and therefore it loses none of its fibre when processed. But for its size, it really packs in the nutrients!  It contains calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium and thiamin in high levels. And for lysine levels (an important amino acid) it can beat wheat or barley hands down!

The grain comes in basically three different colours: white, brown or red. The most sought after is the white variety, although the highest iron concentration is in the red grain.

Of course its most important feature for those of us suffering from coeliac disease is the fact that it is is naturally gluten free!

If you have the misfortune to also suffer from diabetes then teff can be doubly useful, as it can assist with controlling your blood sugar levels.

What can you use it for?

Well I'm guessing that you don't have the time (or inclination) to grind it into flour, ferment it for 3 days and then make the traditional Ethopian bread from it?

However, you can use it in your gluten free diet in a number of ways. One of the things I like about it, is the slightly sweet, nutty taste.

As a grain, it can be added to soups and stews to thicken them and add nutrients. You can either cook it first and then just add it to the soup for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Or you can just pop it in and cook it along with the stew.

Because it can be considered a complete protein, due to its containing all of the 8 essential amino acids, it is ideal for the gluten free vegan or vegetarian.

The cooked grain can be mixed with onion, garlic, herbs, seeds etc to make lovely burgers. Or you can throw it in with the vegetables in a stir fry to increase the protein content.

How to cook teff grain

Cooked, it can be used as an accompaniment to a meal or in place of rice in a pilaf or, as above, made into patties or sausage shapes after being mixed with other ingredients.

The cooked grain can be mixed with onion, garlic, herbs, seeds etc to make lovely burgers. Or you can throw it in with the vegetables in a stir fry to increase the protein content.

It can be used as an accompaniment to a meal or in place of rice in a pilaf or, as above, made into patties or sausage shapes after being mixed with other ingredients.

To cook it you need...

  • 1/2 cup teff grain
  • 2 cups of water
  • salt to taste
  1. Place the teff in a saucepan with the water. Add salt, to taste, if desired.
  2. Bring the pan to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. By this time the water will have been absorbed and the grain will be tender.
  4. Remove from the heat and let it stand for a few minutes before serving.

Teff flour

Teff flour can be used in gluten free baking.

It makes a lovely yeasted bread with a crispy crust. You can also use it for pancakes, cakes or scones. Either use it alone or mix with other gluten free flours if desired.

Here in the UK you can obtain teff flour in supermarkets such as Sainsbury's or Waitrose. The brand I buy is produced by Roleys.


- - Teff grain


  

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