TEFF – a small grain makes it big

by Julia Recker


The last turn of the year I spend together with my boyfriend at our friends‘ home in the north of Israel, close to Haifa. This diverse country with its impressive historical and religious background has been on my To-Travel list for a long time already. Marked by intense color and odor explosions in the hustle and bustle of ever-present market scenarios, fascinating architecture with those oh so beautiful and colorful onion towers, but simultaneously popular for its pale, stone colored landscape and occasionally endless desert. Israel, I was hooked from the very first moment. Also culinary speaking, Israel was a blast. Even before the trip to Israel, Hummus and Tahini constituted basics in my small kitchen. But the quality and quantity of these products I experienced in Israel went far beyond my imagination. Hummus as spread, dip or soup; Tahini in smoothies, dressings and cake… limitless options. It was the inspiring river kitchen fairy personally, who introduced me to the secrets of fermented kombucha tea, shared ancient soaking wisdom and enchanted me with endless options the dehydrator offers. Well-known foods as well as completely new taste experiences, it was a great balance. As welcome breakfast, for instance, our Israeli friends served stuffed gluten free pancakes made from teff flour. Guess what.. preparation of this comforting simple dish was my wonderful job from this point in time. And this one is simpliest, I promise!

You never heard of teff before? Let me introduce you to a type of grain that might revolutionize your kitchen basics. I also didn’t know teff before, so I had to ask three times before I was able to memorize this funny name. Meanwhile, since I made friends with it, it seems like teff‘s everywhere! I came across recipes incorporating teff many times in the last couple of days. 

I also love the german name „Zwerghirse“ or the english expression „love grass“ for this tiny grain which is not larger than 1-1.5 mm and originates from ethiopia. Well, there are some properties of this nanograin you should know and they are indeed quite convincing. First of all, teff is glutenfree which alone is reason enough to jump from joy. But while skipping gluten (which is a really good thing because gluten can cause inflammation and irritation to your digestic tract), teff has a quite strong profile. You can find lots of essential fatty and amino acids in this super grain. Furthermore, it contains several antioxidants and vitamins. 

Have I already told you, that apart from all the nutritional facts, this teff pancake is truly delicious? Teff is worth a try and today I share with you probably the most simple dish made from teff which is also the national dish from Ethiopia. It is called injera and surprise, surprise it is teff flour plus water. No additional fancy ingredients. Flour and water, simply beautiful and truly magical. This recipe reminds me of my overall intention to KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Additionally, this recipe does not only appear in words and still images on your screen – we shot moving pictures for you again!


Stuffed Teff Pancake 

serves 4 portions

400 ml water
200 g teff flour
black sesame seeds, optional
olive oil or coconut oil
tahini dressing

cubes of tomato/capsicum

leafy greens, e.g. coriander, baby spinach, rocket
sprouts, we had home grown sunflower seed sprouts
Combine water and flour and whisk until the consistency is homogenous and runny. Cover and set aside. Wait for 2-3 days (!!! this pancake is the ultimate opposite of fast food!). During that period the fermentation process takes place. The dough gets fluffy and bubbles and it starts smelling sour.
On medium heat, heat up some coconut oil and pour in one portion of dough. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and/or herbs and bake for around 3 minutes each side. Fill with hummus, tahini dressing, avocado, tomato, leafy greens and sprouts. Sprinkle with salt and lemon juice.
You can also go for a sweet version with slices of banana, walnut and agave syrup. Whatever the combination, share with your friends! :) 
Leftovers of the dough can be stored as a sourdough starter in a glas jar in your refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Using it reduces the fermentation process to 6 hours. 
Special thanks go to the mysterious kitchen fairy, Julius, Netanel & Günther!




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