WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Injera gluten free, corn free, dairy free, egg free- quick bread

I recently ended up with a terrific abundance of Teff flour. It happens to be my new favorite flour.

It is a much softer flour then millet and far more mild in flavor then chickpea.

Injera looks like a tortilla with lots of little bubbles on it. It is served frequently in Ethiopia. Teff is a staple in Ethiopia.

Traditionally Injera is made very similar to sourdough. You make a "starter" to ferment further batches. However, I wasn't quite ready to take on yet another sourdough project and found this "shortcut" recipe-

1 pd teff flour(color of your choice, I used brown teff flour)
3 cups purified water.
2 teaspoon yeast.

Combine all three items in a bowl and cover. Allow to sit out for a minimum of 24 hours at room temperature. Picture is of the batter before I cooked it.

In a dry very hot and smooth frying pan(no oil no fat -dry!), pour batter like a pancake- roll it around the pan to get it thinly spread.(I held my pan at an angle so as I poured it rolled down, then I just had to roll it side to side.) Cover it to trap the heat while cooking- but keep an eye on it, these cook fast! I found they did cook without covering, but tended to crack and did not have that nice shine even look. Do not flip! You only cook on the first side.

Tender, flexible and a little tangy like sourdough. Terrific with any stew, soup or filling. I can imagine eating these with EVERYTHING. It does remind me of a combination of sourdough and fresh thick flour tortilla's- how can you beat that?

Teff nutrition: via Tamara Duker Freuman Medical Nutrition Therapy

1) It’s quite delicious. When I use it to make crepes (see recipe below), it reminds me a lot of buckwheat as far as the flavor goes. Slightly sweet, maybe a little nutty.

2) Whole grain teff flour is even more nutritious than whole wheat flour. While both have about the same amount of protein (4g) and fiber (4g) per 1/4 cup, Teff is also a good source of iron and a not-too-shabby source of calcium as well. That same 1/4 cup serving of teff flour contains 13% of the Daily Value for iron (versus about 6% for whole wheat flour) and 5% of the Daily Value for Calcium (versus 1% for whole wheat flour.) This makes teff flour an especially good food to incorporate into the diets of toddlers, children, teenage girls and adult women; all groups that tend not to meet the recommended intakes for iron and/or calcium on average.

2a) Even better: Whole grain teff is one of the few plant foods that’s a source of complete protein, meaning that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. (Some other examples of plant foods that are complete proteins include quinoa and soybeans.) This makes it a great addition to the vegetarian and vegan pantry.

2b) But wait, there’s more! The iron in teff is more bioavailable than you’d typically expect from a plant food, which means your body can absorb it relatively well. Without getting too technical, this has to do with a favorable ratio of phytates (a naturally-occurring form of phosphorous in many plant foods) to iron in teff. (Phytates bind to iron and inhibit the body’s ability to absorb it.) To enhance the iron’s bioavailabilty even further, you could eat teff in the form of traditional injera, where the yeast fermentation helps break down the phytates even further, or to eat your teff along with foods that contain vitamin C, like tomatoes, red peppers, broccoli/cabbage/cauliflower, fruits, etc..

3) It’s gluten free! This makes it a great choice for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, especially since so many of the other available gluten-free flours tend to be low in protein and fiber. A word of caution, though: many (most?) Ethiopian restaurants combine teff with whole wheat flour when they make their injera, so if you’re eating out and avoiding gluten, always be sure to ask what’s in it before you dig in.


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