Teff: The World’s New Superfood
The small, gluten-free grain that Ethiopians have long enjoyed as a dietary staple has recently been experiencing a surge of international attention. While Ethiopian cuisine has been growing in popularity around the world for several years, this is the first time that teff itself — separate from the staple flatbread injera made from it — has become a culinary phenomenon. With various news outlets proclaiming it to be the world’s next “superfood,” restaurants, manufacturers, and retailers in Ethiopia and beyond have been rushing to capitalize on this trend with a new wave of teff-based products. Who knew so many things could come from the world’s tiniest grain?
Ethiopian food manufacturer ENRICH Agro-Industry surprised Addis Ababa–area shoppers earlier this year by introducing what must be the world’s first teff-based breakfast cereal. Teff Rings are made with organic teff, oats, milk and honey, and no added sugar — thus bringing all the nutritional benefits of injera to your breakfast bowl.
The lack of gluten in teff can present some challenges when using it to make pasta, but many experimenting chefs remain undaunted. In Addis Ababa, the recently opened Three Friends Restaurant (near the British Embassy, +251-116-637588) is one of the few local establishments to offer teff pasta on the menu. The owner moved back to Ethiopia after many years in Rome, where she trained professionally in pasta-making, and the restaurant features teff spaghetti, lasagna and more. Outside of Ethiopia, pasta producers like German company 3 Pauly are trying their hand at making teff pasta. (Find 3 Pauly’s spiral-shaped teff fusilli online at 3pauly.de.)
An increasing number of bakeries in Addis Ababa now offer teff-based breads and cookies, and a range of flour products are giving bakers around the world the opportunity to experiment with teff as an alternative to wheat. Several varieties of teff-based pancake mixes can be found at the organic food retailer Abe’s Market, and Bob’s Red Mill sells 680-gram packages of whole-grain teff online and through a chain of stores in the U.S.
Homemade beverages including teff have existed for some time in Ethiopia, but a new group of commercially-produced drinks are now capitalizing on the grain’s superfood status. Spanish organic food company Amandin has produced an organic teff drink as a lactose-free milk alternative, available for purchase online at amandin.com.