Teff Grain – A Gluten-Free Nutritional Powerhouse
25 Jun 2016

Teff Grain – A Gluten-Free Nutritional Powerhouse

Move over Quinoa, there’s a new pseudo grain on the block, and it comes boasting an impressive nutritional profile! An even smaller grain than quinoa, Teff grain, is grown in Ethiopia, and is a great gluten-free alternative for those looking to mix up their FODMAP-friendly rice repertoire. Don’t get me wrong, I love my FODMAP-friendly rice, quinoa and other gluten-free grains … but variety is the spice of life and I’m always on the lookout for something new, nutritious, and that my incredibly sensitive belly will accept. Due to its small size, barely any of the Teff grain’s germ is removed during the milling process, meaning it retains most of its nutrients. Resembling a poppy seed, Teff grain is available in white and brown varieties. Teff can be used in the same way you use quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, rice – i.e., in soups, stir-fries, as a side dish, main dish, sweet, savoury … the sky is the limit! When cooked in its wholegrain form, Teff (has a similar consistency to polenta, quickly becoming a thick porridge that is ideal for soaking up hearty sauces or gravy. You can even use Teff flour in a range of baked goods, like yummy gluten free pancakes, breads, snack bars etc.

Teff has a unique yet delicious earthy, nutty flavour and, being such a small grain, is easily digested. While it is yet to be tested by Monash University for FODMAP content, it is unlikely that this pseudo-grain will be a high FODMAP-item, and its significantly less course nature when cooked means it is reasonably easy to digest. It is also higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates when compared to other common grains. I’m yet to have anyone report any major digestive nightmares. My advice would be start small (1/3 cup cooked) & work your way up to a full serving of ½ – 1 cup cooked. Monitor your symptoms using the food & symptoms journal, ensuring to not introduce it with high FODMAP items, as you may get an inaccurate result.

So here’s the lowdown on Teff:

  • 100% gluten free
  • High in a very absorbable form of iron (may help improve iron stores esp. in pregnancy)
  • Super tasty!
  • May reduce PMS symptoms & aid weight loss
  • High in protein (contains 8 essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth & repair)
  • Vegan (of course 😉 )
  • High in calcium
  • High in manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, barium, thiamine & Vitamin C (not usually found in grains!)
  • Contains 20 – 40% resistant starch & is low GI (good for those managing blood sugar levels)
  • High in fibre (good for those with predominantly C –type IBS)
  • Low in sodium & low in fat

How to Cook Teff:

To a fluffy rice/quinoa like consistency:

  • Heat 1 spoonful of oil in a large, wide-based saucepan
  • Add 1 cup Teff grain and coat for 1 minute
  • Add 1.5 cups water (& a pinch of salt) and bring to the boil
  • Reduce heat to a gentle simmer with the lid on, until all water has absorbed (approx. 8 minutes)
  • Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, place lid back on leave to sit for 10 minutes
  • Serve and enjoy

For a thicker consistency (porridge, risotto, polenta substitute)

  • Add 3 cups water (& a pinch of salt) to 1 cup Teff grain
  • Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer with lid on for 10-12 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved
  • Remove from heat, serve and enjoy.

So what are you waiting for?! Try it out today and let me know how you go 🙂

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