Herbs & Plants

Teff…A Little Grain With A Big Taste.

Teff…a tiny word but the benefits are huge!  A year ago I had no knowledge of Teff until the unfortunate passing of Dr. Sebi.  After doing research on Dr. Sebi, I found the nutritional guide he put together on suggested foods to consume for a high alkaline, non-hybrid diet.  On the list under grains were Teff, Kamut,  Amaranth, Quinoa, Rye, Spelt, Fonio and Wild Rice.   I noticed wheat and other grains more popular in America were not on the list due to their non-alkaline, hybrid status.

Because of the influx of people who are suffering from allergies due to “gluten”,  people are looking for other flours which are gluten friendly.  Before I get into Teff and how great of an alternative it is to wheat, I would like to talk briefly about wheat production and how gluten is not the culprit but the scapegoat for gluten intolerance.

According to Syngenta, a global agricultural entity in the US, they are re-engineering wheat from a self-pollinated crop to a crop which is cross-pollinated resulting in hybrid wheat.  This process has been going on for many years and has gained heavy momentum in the past ten years or so.  Because of the mass production of  genetically modified wheat a lot of people are unable to digest the unnatural strains of wheat being produced causing gluten intolerant people.

Even though Teff is considered a grain it’s actually a seed which is gluten free, easy to digest and as far as research tells us has not been tampered in the way of genetic modification.  Teff is the smallest “grain” in the world, indigenous to Ethiopia and is high in protein, calcium and iron. According to Teff-International, it has been around since 4000 BC and seeds were found in Egyptian pyramids.  The grain is most comfortably grown in the highlands of Ethiopia which is East Africa and in warm temperatures.  Teff seed comes in colors ranging from ivory to red to brown.

Teff is a vital part in Ethiopian diet.  In Ethiopia Teff is used to make a fermented bread called “Injera”, this bread is a staple in Ethiopian food and it takes the place of utensils because it is used to pick up the stews, vegetables and meats served on top of the bread.   The grain is revered so much that according to BBC news, Ethiopia has a long-standing ban against exporting Teff as a grain or flour to other countries.  The Teff grown in America is normally grown in small places like Idaho where the land is not the same but similar to East Africa.  Maskal Teff is a great American company growing and selling Teff and you can hear for yourself (if you click the link above) the owner of the company talking about Teff and how he started growing the seed.

Personally I have used Ivory Teff as a great subsitute for making grits since it has a consistency similar to cornmeal.  I have also used Brown Teff flour to make brownies, waffles and cookies.   I think the nuttiness of Teff pairs wonderfully with anything like cacao or nut butters.  When baking with Teff it does give a grainy taste like if you’re using cornmeal so if you’re staying away from corn products like me this is a great alternative.  I strongly suggest you give Teff a try.

For all interested I actually created a Cacoa & Chia Waffle recipe using Brown Teff flour that I will put below.  The recipe I created is for 1- 2 people, it should yield 2 nice size waffles, feel free to double the recipe to get more.  The waffles are low in sugar, nondairy and of course gluten free!

Cacoa & Chia Waffles
3/4 cups of Teff Flour
2 Tablespoons of Cacao (or cocoa)
1 Tablespoon of Coconut Palm Sugar
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil
1 Tablespoon of Chia Seeds
3 Tablespoons of Spring Water
1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
3/4 cups of non-dairy milk (hemp, coconut,quinoa etc.), ( I use a coconut/hemp milk)
  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and put to the side.  
  2. Heat up your waffle iron.
  3. In another bigger bowl put teff flour, cacao, coconut palm sugar and sea salt in and mix together using a whisk or fork.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup measure 3/4 cups of non-dairy milk, then add 2 Tablespoons of avocado oil and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract all in the same liquid measuring cup.
  5. Pour everything from the liquid measuring cup into your flour mixture.
  6. Next pour your chia seed mixture in the same bowl as your milk and flour mixture.
  7. Whisk all together until it’s mixed.
  8. Spray waffle iron with coconut oil spray or grapeseed oil spray.
  9. Pour half of the waffle mixture on the iron. (I have a round waffle iron), if you have a 4 square waffle maker you can pour the whole mixture on the iron.
  10. Cook according to your waffle iron’s instructions.
The taste of these waffles are kind of like a brownie, they’re very filling and will keep you full for a long time, thanks to the Teff!
I have made these waffles numerous times, I’ve added nuts to the batter, chocolate chips and bananas, so it’s a great batter to experiment.  I have also made these waffles for dessert and instead of syrup I put my favorite non-dairy ice cream on top.  
If you wind up making these waffles please comment and let me know how you like them!
Chia Seed Mixture

Peace & Wellness,
Native Batch