Tigernuts, have you heard of them? In the spring of 2014, I ran across tigernuts in the depths of my internet searching. Interested to find out what they were, I decided to order a bag from Amazon, not entirely sure what to expect when they arrived. My first experience with them was of mixed feelings, as they were certainly different than anything else I had ever tried in my entire life. They are a bit sweet, with a little crunch, almost reminding me of the flavor profile of a raw almond. However, despite containing the term “nut” in their name, they are actually the starchy tuber that is found at the end of cyprus grass, of which is typically grown in areas around Egypt and the Delta Nile. Much like I discussed in a previous post here, tigernuts, there are many health benefits of consuming tigernuts. As part of the crop family of Cyperaceae, as well as a perennial crop related to cyprus grass, the starchy tuber is a staple in the diets of those living in North Africa and Spain, while it is also known for being used to embalm the bodies of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. Overall, the “nuts” are valued for their nutritious starch content, digestible carbohydrates, and minerals including calcium, sodium, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. As a note, tigernuts are dried in order to preserve their shelf life for many years, as well as their nutritional content, however, that does not take away from their versatility, as they can be eaten raw, roasted, soaked, baked, more traditionally in drinks such as horchata, or in the form of tigernut oil. If you do not wish to eat them dried, simply soaking them for 6-12 hours, can reconstitute them into a softer tuber. It is also important to note that after just 6 hours of soaking, the amount of anti-nutrients (tannins, alkaloids and polyphenols) present is significantly reduced.
You truly never know what you will come across when looking for ways to use new, foreign ingredients in the kitchen. An example would be today’s recipe, of which I stumbled upon during my recent researching on tigernuts. If you are not familiar with tigernut sweets, they are an ancient Egyptian treat that have been made by hand for many centuries. Typically made with dates, tigernuts, and some additional spices, these bite-sized treats are a reflection on how simple, real-food ingredients truly are the tastiest. Overall, I am happy to report that, much like my no-bake Fig Newton Bars, my father said that today’s cinnamon spiced tigernut sweets were “glorious,” after which I told him he could thank the ancient Egyptians. My mother was also pumped about these, as she enjoyed them for pre and (or) post-workout fuel. Not only do these snack balls taste amazing, but they are very simple to prepare. If tigernuts have yet to become a staple in your pantry, I encourage you to purchase some so that you too can experience their great versatility and taste. If you are interested in more recipe that my friends and family have loved using tigernuts, please visit my new, “Paleo Flour” recipe page here.
- Place tiger nuts in a bowl and fill the bowl the water, enough so that the tiger nuts are fully covered.
- Allow the tiger nuts to soak for at least 6 hours, up to 12.
- Pit your dates and place them in a bowl as well, soaking in hot water until soft.
- Drain tiger nuts and place in a food processor, pulsing a few times until broken down.
- Add in your soaked dates, cinnamon and sea salt, processing until a sticky dough has formed.
- Using a cookie scoop, form dough into balls, placing on a plate and sticking in the fridge to firm up for at the least 1 hour.