Jan 19, 2018

Teff Talk

Add some adventure to your meals with teff, a tiny whole grain that has been a staple of traditional Ethiopian cooking for thousands of years. Whole grain teff, an ancient East African cereal grass, is a nutritional powerhouse. It is the smallest grain in the world, about 100 times smaller than a wheat kernel.  

Teff has been growing in Ethiopia for thousands of years but because it's labor-intensive to grow and harvest, the grain stayed in the hands of farmers, rather than being traded to other countries.

In the 1970’s an American aid worker from Idaho named Wayne Carlson asked the farmers to share their growing secrets with him. When he left the country, he came home with teff seeds in his suitcase—sure even the TSA would not have a problem with that!  Carlson began growing teff in Caldwell, Idaho, which has similar growing conditions to the high hills in Ethiopia.

Today, all teff eaten in the U.S. comes from the seeds Wayne Carlson brought from Ethiopia as the government has banned export of the seed so it remains affordable to its people.

With a mild, nutty flavor and lots of calcium, protein and fiber, whole grain teff is a great addition to any diet. Cooked teff makes a delicious hot breakfast cereal similar in texture to farina. Teff can be made into veggie burgers, and added to cakes, cookies and breads. Naturally gluten free, teff is an excellent option for those who need to restrict their gluten intake.

To prepare teff grains you need to add a 4-to-1 ratio of liquid.  Add 1/2-cup teff to 2 cups boiling water or stock. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Stir occasionally. You can substitute some of the water for butter and add sweetener like honey or sugar to serve a hot breakfast. Or use chicken stock and serve it like couscous or rice.
Teff is also great in baked goods and gives better texture than many gluten-free flour mixtures.

Craisin Teff Scones
Teff flour is available wherever teff is—try your local health food shop

1 egg

¼ cup coconut oil, melted or canola oil

½ cup maple syrup

¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups teff flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ cup craisins

½ cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone mat, and set aside.

Whisk the egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir briefly to form a moist dough. Don’t over mix.

Sprinkle a bit of teff flour on the lined pan and form the dough into a round pie-like shape on the paper, about 1 1/2” thick. Slice into 8 wedges and separate them slightly.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until bottom of the scones are golden brown. Let cool before eating.

Crust Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats

1½ cups Teff flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup coconut oil

1 cup almond milk

Filling Ingredients:

3 yellow apples, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup full fat coconut milk

½ cup brown sugar

Crumb Topping Ingredients:

½ cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl mix the rolled oats, teff flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add the brown sugar and coconut oil and cut in with a pastry cutter until it looks like cornmeal.

Add the milk and mix well. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture to use in the crumb topping.

Spread the rest of the crust mixture evenly in your pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the middle is just firm enough to support the apple topping.

While the bottom is baking cook the apple mixture. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the chopped apples, cinnamon and ginger.

Once the mixture is fragrant, about 5 minutes, add the coconut milk and brown sugar. Turn the heat up to medium high. Continue to cook until the caramel forms and thickens.

Spread apple mixture over the crust. 

Mix the reserved crust with ½ cup oats and crumble on top of the apples. Bake another 20 minutes or until the topping is a little crunchy. Cool before slicing.

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