As lots of you know, Oh My Goodness! is the offspring of my obsession with the oven, my love of great food and my ‘sudden’ inability to eat so much of it at a time where there really wasn’t much else to eat (circa 2013). But whomever said you should make a living out of your love, passion or hobby (do we still use this word past the year 2000?) had no idea what he/she was talking about.
Since starting the company three years ago, I think I've baked for funlaughterpeaceandjoy a grand total of three times. I almost lost my friends (and here I was thinking they loved me for me).
Now, thanks to our wonderful team that’s pretty much doing all the real work getting your Goodness to you, this blog and the fact that I just moved into a new home with a kitchen that’s mine-all-mine, I’m back to messing around with recipes and making friends (and enemies!) with new, interesting ingredients. At last weekend’s 'playtime', I got to know The Tiger Nut.
It’s a tiger, it’s a nut, it’s…a small root vegetable.
Tiger nuts were the primary food of our ancient ancestors who lived in East Africa about 1 to 2.4 million years ago. Tiger nuts and their flour were first introduced to me slightly more recently by one of our earliest customers, Mr. A, about three years ago when a contact of his was thinking of importing this little known flour into Singapore. Then about a year ago, at a wonderful conscious eating event by The Wedge where I talked about gluten-free baking and ingredient substitution, a mum in the audience approached me after the event and raved about the chocolate chip cookies she made for her kids using tiger nut flour. “They go crazy for them!” she said.
And God knows I go crazy for a good chocolate chip cookie. You know, the kind that's crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside...
Let there be chocolate chip cookies (that I can eat!)
It only took me a year but I finally made me a batch of tiger nut chocolate chip cookies (yesyes, recipe provided below). The verdict? I’ll need to make some adjustments to arrive at the perfect chocolate chip cookie but I must say I’m rather satisfied with this batch. They taste different from chocolate chip cookies made with wheat flour and butter, of course, but hey, you wouldn’t eat a green apple and complain it didn’t taste like a red apple, would you?
To be sure, the texture of tiger nut flour is something that needs getting used to. It’s quite ‘sandy’ so technique is key here – you’ve got to make sure the flour is given a chance to absorb as much liquid as possible before baking. The one hour of chilling that’s required in the recipe helps with this but I’d also recommend being extra sure all the flour has been mixed thoroughly with the wet ingredients before placing the batter in the refrigerator.
But why would you ever want to replace your regular flour or almond flour with tiger nut flour?
First of all, tiger nut flour is nut-free (oh, the irony.) This is in addition to being gluten-free, grain-free and Paleo (remember those ancestors I talked about earlier…?). These babies are also high in iron, potassium, protein, magnesium and fibre (one ounce contains 40% of the recommended daily fibre intake!) and although tiger nuts are roasted then milled to get the flour, none of their nutritious properties are lost in the milling process (unlike say, bleached white flour which is not only not nutritious, it’s not very good for you either.) Tiger nuts also have a naturally high sugar content which means you don’t have to add all that extra ‘bad sugar’ to your baking.
What else can you do with tiger nuts when not whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies?
- Soak them in water to make them easier to eat – a popular snack in West Africa
- Make kunnu – a local beverage in Nigeria
- Make horchata – a non-alcoholic beverage in Spain made from mixing tiger nuts with sugar and water
- Make granola, tiger nut butter and tiger nut milk - raw or slivered tiger nuts only need apply
- Make yoghurt – tiger nut milk has been used as an alternative source of milk in fermented products in African countries for people who are lactose-intolerant
- Catch European carp – yup, boiled tigernuts are used in the UK as a bait for said fish
- Make crisp bread - RedMart sells this though, so maybe you can save yourself the trouble
Tiger nut flour isn’t readily available in many places in Singapore, but there are some online grocers you could hit up:
The cost of tiger nut flour tends to vary quite a bit, but the average going price seems to be $20/400g. For tiger nuts themselves, however, you’re looking at $7/60g. Not the cheapest kid on the block, but like all Good things, it’s only a matter of time before prices start to drop so watch this space!
Founder, Oh My Goodness!
As always, I reviewed about 4 to 5 recipes before picking one I thought would work well based on proportions of the ingredients (and the flavour/texture I anticipated from that combination) plus the ease of putting it all together. Sometimes I combine different recipes to form one super-recipe!
This time I picked one ‘high potential candidate’ then adapted the original recipe to make it gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar free (of course).
Here’s the final recipe that made it to playtime:
- 25g coconut sugar + 30g unrefined cane sugar
- 50g olive oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 180g tiger nut flour
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 55g Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips
Whisk together the sugar, olive oil, egg and vanilla extract in one bowl by hand or with a mixer.
Add tiger nut flour, sea salt, baking soda and whisk until combined.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Chill the dough in the fridge for about 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 175°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Once chilled, scoop 25g cookie dough balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten to form 'cookie shape'.
Bake for 12 minutes until the edges are just set.
Leave the cookies one the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature 2-4 days.
P/S: To create a vegan version, replace the egg with a flax egg. I haven’t tried it myself yet but it’s definitely next on the list!
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