Photo: Pornchai Mittongtare

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One grain of teff is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Its name comes from the Amharic (Ethiopian) word teff a, meaning “lost”: the saying goes that if you drop a grain of teff, you’ll never be able to find it again. But the minuscule grain is a nutritional giant that’s high in protein, fiber, and minerals (especially iron), and boasts 17 times more calcium than barley or wheat.

Nutty-flavored teff grains can be cooked into a breakfast porridge similar to cream of wheat, used as a substitute for polenta, or sprouted for salads and sandwich greens. Teff flour is traditionally used to make injera, a thin, soft Ethiopian flat bread. Teff flour can also be used to give gluten-free recipes a light texture and nutty flavor.

Teff grains and flour come in three colors: white, tan, and deep red. White teff is the preferred flour for making injera, but red varieties are richest in iron.