Ethiopian food may still be a niche cuisine across the globe, but that might not be the case for long. From Washington, D.C. to London, Ethiopian restaurants are earning awards and accolades. Inside the country, the traditionally hearty cuisine is also being given a gourmet twist.
Teff- Ethiopia’s Teff Poised To Be Next Big Super Grain
At Addis Ababa airport, visitors are greeted by pictures of golden grains, minute ochre-red seeds and a group of men gathered around a giant pancake. Billboards boast: “Teff: the ultimate gluten-free crop!” [source: The Guardian]
Dubbed the ‘new quinoa’ (apart from Ethiopians who have been eating it for thousands of years), teff is the new grain that people can’t stop talking about.Even if you aren’t a fan of celebrity endorsements – Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham are said to love the stuff – it has top notch health credentials, as it is rich in protein, iron and calcium.
Ethiopia is also the native home of teff, a highly nutritious ancient grain increasingly finding its way into health-foodshops and supermarkets in Europe and America. Teff‘s tiny seeds – the size of poppy seeds – are high in calcium, iron and protein, and boast an impressive set of amino acids. Naturally gluten-free, the grain can substitute for wheat flour in anything from bread and pasta to waffles and pizza bases.
- Teff leads all the grains – by a wide margin – in its calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123 mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach.
- It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient not commonly found in grains.
- It’s been estimated that Ethiopians get about two-thirds of their dietary protein from teff.
- Many of Ethiopia’s famed long-distance runners attribute their energy and health to teff.
- White or ivory teff has the mildest flavor, with darker varities having an earthier taste.
- Those who have only tasted teff in injera assume it has a sour taste, but when it is not fermented (made into a sourdough), teff has a sweet and light flavor. Source: Whole Grains Council
Teff is used to make injera, a tangy, spongy flat bread that is served with many dishes in Ethiopia,such as the variety of vegetarian and meat based wots, or stews. The teff is fermented to give the bread its signature sour flavour.
In Eritrea and Ethiopia, injera is eaten daily in virtually every household. Preparing injera requires considerable time and resources. The bread is cooked on a large, black, clay plate over a fire.
Ethiopia Version of Pizza.
Ethiopian version of pizza, which also uses teff. Because teff is gluten-free, the dough doesn’t have the same elasticity of traditional pizza dough. To combat this, a touch of wheat flour and egg is used.
Berbere – Ethiopian Spice Mix
Many of Ethiopia’s rich stews are seasoned with berbere, a heady spice mix that blends garlic, red pepper, coriander, cloves and a variety of other ingredients. Tibs, a beef or lam stew, is made from a paste using berbere, onion and clarified butter.
Coffee – Ethiopia Coffee Ceremony
Ethiopia is widely considered the birthplace of coffee, and as such, it’s no surprise that the beverage plays heavily in Ethiopia’s culture, tradition and economy. Guests are often treated to a coffee ceremony, and coffee accounts for about 25% of Ethiopia’s export earnings.