Reub's journey

06 February 2011

Teff and other things

The other day I read this article about grains, and the recipe with chard and caramelized red onions on a teff crust was impossible to resist. Who knew what teff was? The answer was *not me* although everybody else in the family knew, including my 92-year-old father-in-law, who wondered if I was planning on making Ethiopian ingera. Say what?

It turns out that teff is a tiny grain from Ethiopia, and the source of flour used to make ingera, the bread there. Here in the US it is gaining ground as people seek alternatives to wheat. For me it was a brand new experience, as I plowed my way through a recipe with far too many steps in it.

Needing to be rolled in the bottom of a pan, the only tool at hand to do this was a sturdy jelly jar with a stegosaurus painted on the side. Classy.

The next step was to place parchment paper atop the teff, and dried beans over that. Huh? You should never question a recipe first time through.

After the crust baked, the toppings were loaded onto it and the whole thing looked quite exotic. People who tried it said:

"Oh." (Come on, she could at least say how pretty it is.)
"Is this gluten-free" (No, it also has wheat flour in it. Sorry.)
"I think this should have been a side dish." (Really, it is very filling. Have some more!)
"Who made this? It looks...weird." (me, it was me.)

It will be awhile before I attempt this recipe again, but since I have some teff flour left over maybe I will try my hand at Ethiopian injera next.

In the meantime, anybody for kale chips from The Half-Assed Kitchen? I made these for our very own Super Bowl party of two (obligatory if you were born as close to Green Bay Wisconsin as I was), and you know, they were really quite good.


  1. ok, now really, this speaks more about the people you are sharing food with, don't you think???? i'd eat it!! i have a bag of teff myself, and a bag of berbere spice in my freezer, just waiting for me to get off my butt and dive into injera and doro wat. i've never made either but it was my fall plan! and my winter plan! and maybe my spring plan...??

    i massaged kale for the first time this weekend, for a potluck salad, and it was AWESOME.

  2. Peggy is a big fan of teff as a breakfast cereal. I don't much care for the taste (or the expense), but I sometimes eat it with her. One of the things I love about living in Eugene is that all kinds of grains are easily found here.

    By the way, did you know that growing teff was either forbidden or discouraged (I can't remember which) in Ethiopia for many years?

  3. Yeah Debbie, I think you're right. But it comes just a week after I served up Sage and Walnuts with Portabellas on Fetuccini, and an honored dinner guest picked at it and exclaimed "Sage: we feed this to the animals in the country I come from!" Cheerfully undeterred, I plan on trying "Leek and Lemon Pasta" with some people this Friday night.

    Hey Snow, teff for breakfast? I'll look into it. Sounds like a breakfast of champions; wait, maybe not, the word "teff" doesn't conjure up a big image like that. What you say about the restrictions on this grain in its home country is very interesting and when I get a chance I am going to look for info on that.


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