Teff: the tiny grain packing an almighty punch!
By Amy Crawford
Just as we (finally) learn how to cook and devour the fluffiest quinoa, another 'superfood' hits the store shelves to keep us on our toes.
Say hello to teff, an ancient grain from Ethiopia which appears to be winning hearts (and for good reason).
What is teff ?
Teff is a grain about the size of a poppy seed that comes in a range of colours, from white and red through to a really dark brown. It’s currently the smallest known grain in the world, and has been hanging out in East African cuisines for around 3000 years before grabbing our attention here in Australia. The reason it’s survived for so long is it thrives pretty much anywhere, and can happily withstand the most waterlogged soil or drought-stricken desert without a single complaint.
Teff is jam—packed with good stuff and more flexible than your Wednesday night yoga teacher. Best of all, it retains its nutrients during the milling process as neither the germ or bran is said to be removed. Reason enough to try it out in some recipes? I think so! Watch this space, there's one coming to subscriber inboxes later this week!
Why is teff good for you?
Teff is high in protein and amino acids, making it fantastic for energy and muscle toning. It's carb content is quite high (and comparable to that of quinoa), but they're low GI and full of fibre which helps you keep your weight off and blood sugar down. It’s also full of iron and a great source of resistant starch which helps strengthen your stomach's probiotics.
So why does it need a gig in your pantry? It’s gluten free, nut free and (obviously) wheat free, making teff a perfect alternative for those with sensitivities. There are plenty of gluten-free and similar replacements out there, but teff offers oodles more nutrients and it’s earthy taste makes it a flavoursome alternative.
How do we eat teff?
You know that feeling of discovering a versatile new health food that just makes you want to try every way possible (or am I the only one who gets excited about that..)? There are so many different uses for teff grains and the flavour and texture changes with every one. Here are some options to get you started:
Sprinkle on: salads, breakfast bowls
Add to: Risotto, schnitzels, smoothies
Use as flour in: cakes, muffins, crepes and pancakes, biscuits
Heat it for: porridge
Just a note, if you’re using it as flour add one part Teff to one part brown rice or millet flour.
Where do you purchase teff?
Thankfully farms in New South Wales and Tasmania have started growing teff which makes it much cheaper than it's been in the past. Being a lot closer than East Africa also means there are good supplies of the grain in major supermarkets and most health food stores. We found a good list of stockists via Teff Tribe here.
Those of you who are using teff with success, what is your favourite way to use it? I'm sharing the recipe for these cookies later in the week but would welcome some tips to expand my repertoire!