In the constant search for the new superfood, the Ethiopian teff has suddenly acquired a high profile. One of the earliest ever domesticated crops, the grain comes from an annual grass species native to Ethiopian regions. Its name comes from a linguistic root meaning 'lost', because the grains are so small (about the size of a poppy seed). However, in teff's case, size does matter, because it means that it cooks a lot more quickly, offering an advantage over quinoa and millet.
Teff flour is a main ingredient of Ethiopian traditional sourdough flatbread, injera, which is gaining popularity in other parts of the world, but can also be used in traditional bread baking, pasta and other grain-based products, where it has great value in being gluten-free.
Teff has a high protein content, offering 8 of the 9 essential amino acids, plenty of dietary fibre and a rich source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Teff contains iron in an easily absorbed form, plus manganese, copper, vitamins C (not normal in grains), K, E, A and some of the B complex. These antioxidants and vital nutrients contribute to reduced cholesterol, improved digestion and lower risk of heart disease.