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IMPORTANT FACTS YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TIGER NUTS MILK (KUNU AYA).

 The health benefits and preparation of tiger nuts milk.


I love tiger nuts (ofiyo) from as far back as I can remember. There was this Hausa man who hawked these little delights in my town. After school hours, he brought them in his little stroller to the school gate. Right then we just loved its sweet milky taste; it tasted even better than coconuts. It was a snack for us and also it tasted great with Garri.
Apart from the sweet taste, I knew nothing about its health benefits. Twelve year-old I just knew there has to be nutrients in it and all, lol!
So I went to this program and everyone was talking about healthy foods, drinks and the unhealthy ones. This lady mentioned kunu aya; I was like what’s that? Turned that kunu aya was milk made from my little delights, tiger nuts. She said a lot on its nutritional benefits and I was like wow!
Did you know tiger nuts are not in fact, nuts? They are actually small tuberous rhizomes of a sedge grass, cyperus esculentus lativum. These wrinkled pea-sized orbs have been cultivated around the world for millennia. It is native to Ancient Egypt. It has a flavor that reminds one of coconut and almond at the same time, yeah! The name comes from its exterior which looks tiger-striped. Here are some benefits of tiger nuts

  • Tiger nuts are high in resistant starch fiber which makes it a vital part of diet recommended for weight loss. It is also low in calories and fat. It is a prebiotic, aids digestion by stimulating growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract thus promoting a healthy digestive system.
  • Tiger nuts are also high in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and E. recent studies even show that tiger nuts can help slow down cellular aging (wow!) and control blood pressure and blood sugar level, as they are rich in arginine.
  • Tiger nuts are a rich source of antioxidants. These compounds help protect the body against aging, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Tiger nuts contain high amounts of oleic acid; a mono-unsaturated fat found in avocado and olive oil) which is associated with increased HDL (good) cholesterols which makes them good food for the heart. These heart-healthy fats are associated with lower risks of heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular diseases.
  • Tiger nuts have been used as aphrodisiac all through history. In fact, here in Nigeria, it has been used for generations to treat erectile dysfunction, boost libido and increase sperm count.

Tiger nuts can be eaten raw, cooked, eaten on their own or as part of meals, dairy free products of baked goods. You could make it into milk and then use the pulp to make tiger nut flour. The flour can be used to make cookies, pancakes, bread and burgers too. Tiger nut milk is rich on its own and yields a great ice cream base unlike other non-dairy ice cream
If you are considering being a vegetarian, you would totally love tiger nuts.
To make tiger nut milk you’ll need.
(Makes approximately 1 liter)

Tiger nuts 3 cups
Water 5 cups add extra for blending
Coconut I medium sized fruit

Spice

Could be ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg or you could skip the spice. It is as you please and wish. But I love using ginger.
Ginger (1 finger).

Sweeteners

You could use sugar syrup, honey, maple syrup or dates (debino). I use dates when making my tiger nuts milk, I try to keep it as natural as possible.
Dates 2 cups
For the tiger nuts, you could use the fresh or dried types; it works with whichever one you choose or can easily get.

Method

  • Place the tiger nuts in a bowl or a jar with a lid. Pour water into the bowl of tiger nuts to just above it, cover and let it soak in water for 24- 28 hours. Note that if you are using fresh tiger nuts, you just need to soak it for an hour or even less. The dryer the tiger nuts, the longer the soaking time. The longer it soaks in water, the softer it becomes and it also makes the whole milking process easier.
  • After soaking, drain out the water used in soaking the nuts with a sieve and rinse the tiger nuts very well. Set aside.
  • Soak the dates in warm water for about an hour. Sieve and remove the seeds. Set aside
  • Remove the husk from the coconut and cut into small sizes. Set aside.
  • Peel away (more like scrape) the skin of the ginger and rinse it very well. Cut into small pieces. Set aside
  • Put the presoaked tiger nuts, coconut, dates and ginger into a blender. Add water 2-4 cups, so as to prevent too much water diluting the milk.
  • Blend on high until smooth and creamy, adding water in intervals, a little at a time.
  • Pour through a fine sieve to separate milk from pulp.
  • Add the pulp back into the blender and add 2 cups. Blend again for 2 minutes, and then strain again. You can repeat this twice again. Note the second and third batches would not be as creamy as the first. I normally add them together. But if you to have the milk as creamy as possible, keep your batches separate.
  • Once you are done milking, pour into bottles and refrigerate.
Remember to keep the pulp for use as flour or as a nutty filling for your smoothies. No part of these sweet little delights is allowed to go to waste.
To keep your milk as natural and healthy as possible, skip the artificial sweeteners, use honey or dates.












About the Author

Kehinde is an avid reader who loves writing. A graduate of Anatomy, she writes to teach, inspire, encourage and amuse(sometimes). Asides from writing and reading, she loves teaching, eating (lol, yeah especially trying out new dishes and recipes) and traveling. She can be reached at [email protected]

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