Shopping For Foodies: Trey Popp’s Holiday Gift Guide, Part 5

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it now: the Super Grain of the Future. Because the thing is, there’s a new one every season. One year’s quinoa becomes another year’s amaranth, which soon gets buried in chia seeds.

But for 2015, you could do a lot worse than injecting more teff into your friends’ diets.

If you want to simply use that as an excuse to ramp up your visits to West Philly’s Ethiopian corridor, that’s all good. But the addictive tang of injera isn’t the only attraction of this protein-rich, high-fiber, gluten-free grain. Breakfast-style pancakes have become the main vehicle for teff in my house. They’re delicious, they stick by you longer than their carb-crashing white-flour cousins, and they have the added benefit of delivering a decent wallop of calcium to my milk-shunning oldest son.

Now, the best pancakes you can possibly make in this vein are with an injera-buckwheat mix called Love Grain, which began as a business-school project at MIT, of all places. But right now it’s not really available outside of a few health stores in Boston.

So head over to International Foods and Spices (4203 Walnut St., 215-222-4480) and snag a five-pound bag of teff. Then make your own mix with a few other ingredients, and presto, you’ve got a gift with a homemade touch.

Here’s my mix, but don’t get too worried if you don’t have everything; I substitute and experiment freely, and everyone in the house still looks forward to pancake day.

Teff Pancake Mix

1¼ cups teff

½ cup buckwheat, whole wheat flour, or white flour

4 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon potato starch (optional)

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

5 allspice berries, 5 coriander seeds, and 2 cloves, ground with a mortar/pestle

To make the pancakes, combine 1 cup of the mix with an egg, ½ cup of yogurt or buttermilk, and ¼ cup of fizzy water. If needed, add more liquid to produce a thick but pourable batter, and you’re all set. I like to add pecans or walnuts to mine. My youngest like banana slices. My oldest likes chocolate chips. Everybody likes maple syrup.

Trey Popp’s Holiday Gift Guide, Part 4
Trey Popp’s Holiday Gift Guide, Part 3
Trey Popp’s Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2
Trey Popp’s Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1