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May 13, 2007


I cooked teff for the first time last week. Interesting stuff. Fans of Ethiopian food might recognize teff as the grain that is used in making injera, the spongy flatbread that is a staple of Ethiopian cuisine. (And maybe sometime when I'm feeling brave, I'll buy some teff flour and try making my own injera.) But teff can also be cooked as a whole grain. Teff grains are very small, so it cooks up with a consistency very similar to cream of wheat or polenta. It has a mild nutty flavor, without any of the tanginess that injera gets from being fermented.

My first use of it was essentially as a substitute for polenta. (I got this suggestion from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking, though I didn't precisely follow her recipe.) I cooked up a batch and topped it with an improvised ragout of tomatoes, mushrooms, and Italian sausage. I loved it, Mr. Spaceling was not entirely enthusiastic. (About the teff polenta. He ate two helpings of the ragout.) I think the teff polenta would be even better prepared according to Swanson's suggestion of spreading it out in a thinnish layer to chill, cutting it into wedges and grilling them, but that involved more time than I had for a quick weeknight supper.

A slightly more traditional use of teff is as a breakfast porridge. I reheated some of the leftover cooked teff with milk and cinnamon, and then stirred in some fresh blueberries. Wow. Really nice.

The basic method for cooking teff: use 3 parts water to 1 part teff. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the teff has reached the consistency you like.

If you can't find teff in your local grocery store, you can order it from Bob's Red Mill.

Posted by spaceling at May 13, 2007 05:52 PM


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