tiger nuts + tiger nut milk
POSTED ON March 26, 2015
If you’ve entered a health food store or raw food shop in the last few months, you may have noticed the increasingly large presence of tiger nuts. The little brown, shriveled nuts are not actually nuts as their name suggests; they are small, round tuber root vegetables. Sound interesting? You can find these tubers sold dried, with the skin removed, ground into flour or made into milk, which is often called ‘horchata de chufas’—chufas is another name for tiger nuts. These tiny tubers have a nutty, sweet taste and can be eaten strait from the bag (or soaked to soften first); peeled tiger nuts are quite soft and much easier to chew without their fibrous skin. Tiger nut flour is used in many grain and nut free recipes and it makes the perfect almond meal replacement for anyone with a nut allergy. With its fluffy texture and sweet taste, it adds a lovely flavor boost to breads, cakes, pancakes and can even be added directly to porridge, Bircher muesli and smoothies. I’ve been experimenting with it in a recipe or two and hope to share one soon.
High in fiber (about 30%), iron, potassium, protein and healthy fats and unlike most other tuber vegetables, tiger nuts are rich in good fats with a similar fatty acid composition to extra virgin olive oil. Perhaps the most impressive thing about tiger nuts is that they are said to be the number one whole food source of resistant starch, a prebiotic fiber that resists digestion and becomes fuel for the probiotics in our guts. This means they feed the good bacteria and can be helpful for people with digestive difficulty—although in this case they should be added to the diet gradually.
Most of the tiger nuts available to us here in the United States are cultivated in Africa or Spain. According to this company our African Paleo ancestors ate a diet that was comprised of eighty percent tiger nuts. Ancient Egyptians also revered tiger nuts and first cultivated the crop over four thousand years ago.
Now onto the recipe. The first time I tried milk made from tiger nuts was a revelation: a nut free, naturally sweet, refreshing milk with an almost vanilla flavor that didn’t need anything added to accomplish the delicious and delicate taste. Amazing! I immediately wanted to make my own, but tiger nuts where not as readily available as they are now (well in New York anyway). When making the milk you do need to strain it as the skins of the tiger nuts are quite hard and fibrous, unless of course you use the peeled ones.
Please let me know what you think of these unusual tubers and I’d love to hear if you’re already using the flour.
Ps. I am so excited that my book has received a James Beard nomination (!!). Thank you everyone for all the sweet messages, it really is a dream to have ones work recognized. I am truly honored and so grateful for your support!
Tiger nut milk
There are lots of delicious flavorings you can add to tiger nut milk, just as you might to any true nut milk: vanilla beans or extract, cinnamon, cardamom or other spices. However, first I suggest you try it plain as the flavor it delicate and really delicious.
I often soak the nuts for two days changing the water after a day of soaking, they will still feel pretty firm.
Makes 3 cups
1 cup tiger nuts, soaked 24 to 48 hours
3 cups filtered water
Drain and rinse tiger nuts. Add to a blender with filtered water and blend for about 1 minute to make sure all the nuts are pulverized. It will be loud! Strain milk through a nut milk bag (or a strainer lined with a thin kitchen towel) and squeeze out all the liquid. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. You will notice a fine white starchy substance on the bottom of the jar, so shake well each time or use a spoon to scrape it off if it has settled.
Tiger nut milk will not last as long as true nut milks; so it’s best to drink it within 3 days.
POSTED IN drinks