Monday, February 17, 2014

Tiger Nuts: Another African food discovered by US health food enthusiasts

Tiger nuts (aka "chufa," or technically, Cyperus Esculentas), are included in the 1996 initial book in the Lost Crops of Africa series (Grains, Vol. 1), published by the National Academy Press.

In Ghana people delight in eating tiger nuts raw as a snack food, kind of like peanuts (though one spits out the fibrous coating after  chewing them to extract all the sweet milky juice.) 

Back in 2009 I posted a recipe for "atadwe milkye" or tigernut pudding. At that time I had to import the tigernuts from Spain, and they required a long soaking before grinding them to make the pudding.

While preparing to have some recipe testers try their hands at making this wonderful gluten-free pudding, I began searching for a source closer to home. 

Lo and behold: the health foods community has discovered tiger nuts! Two British-born men, Jack Sims and Jim McNulty, teamed up in 2013 to begin making this product available to the U.S. market via Tigernuts USA. They are also taking things one step further by providing the option of purchasing them with some of the outer husk removed (the part that we strained out repeatedly through silk cloth in Ghana after grinding the rice and tigernuts together). And soon, they are going to have tigernut flour available! There are all sorts of possibilities for simplifying the process of making the pudding.

My first order just arrived and I'll begin trying their nuts out soon.

Also, I want to thank all the folks who have volunteered to help out with the recipe testing. We can always use more! Just fill in the form and forward it to me. Also, the first couple of volunteers have emailed the results of their efforts and you can see their photos at the pinterest site. It is very encouraging and helpful to hear from all of you, and will definitely improve the final book.

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