Healthy snacking. An oxymoron perhaps?

When I decided to watch what went in my mouth, I found that one of the most challenging things was finding a healthy snack. Thrown in was the fact that I was advised to get a lot of fibre into my diet. So began my search for a healthy snack which could meet my dietary fiber needs. I also wanted something I could buy locally (yes, buying things that are Nigerian grown is very important to me). And lastly, it had to be cheap if it was something so that I could afford to eat it everyday if I wished. 

I didn’t need to look far as I realized that Tiger nuts would do the trick. In case you are not familiar with that name, in Nigeria the Hausas call it “Aya”, Yorubas call it “imumu”, the  igbos “ofio” or “aki Hausa”. The Spanish call it Chufa and make a drink called Horchata de Chufa from it. The Hausas make a drink called Kuunu Aya from it as well. 

I have always liked Tiger nuts but had a problem with the way it was sold by our local vendors – carried around in a wheel barrow, open to the elements and rehydrated with water from an unknown source. In the past, I had bought a lot of Tiger nuts which looked like they had been eaten into by rodents.

Luckily for me, I found these ones which are hygienically packed and very importantly, have no bite marks on them.  Don’t bother calling the phone numbers on this pack – I did some digging and found that it doesn’t work. Luckily, I was able to get this number for the vendor:  0805-155-5959. They are no longer at that address either.

So what is so great about Tiger nuts? A lot. Apart from the fact that they are really cheap (A small pack costs me just N50 ~ approx $0.30) they have are used for medicinal purposes, in cooking, baking, as an aphrodisiac, they are anti-oxidants…..the list goes on and on. 

I will reference a very educative journal article and will just highlight the points here:

Dietary benefits

A rich source of nutrients such as vitamins C and E, minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and also carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, proteins and some enzymes which help in digestion

Drinks made from Tiger nuts contains more iron, magnesium and carbohydrates than cow’s milk and has the added advantage of not containing any lactose, casein, sugar or proteins of the milk, or cholesterol and is therefore an ideal drink for people who do not tolerate gluten or cow’s milk.

Tiger nuts can be used as part of a weight loss program (bet that has gotten your attention).

Few facts

  • Tiger nuts are actually little tubers, not nuts
  • They taste like coconuts.
  • Tiger nut oil, milk and flour can be made from these nuts. 
  • Tiger nut oil compares favorably with olive oil. 
  • Tiger nuts can be quite hard to bite into. If you do not want to exercise your jaws, you can soak them in water for a few hours or overnight and they will be just a wee bit softer. Not soft. Just softer. It also rids the tuber of anti-nutrients (read the article referenced below). A dried tuber nut can absorb up to three times its own weight.
  • You can make and flavor your own drink of tiger nuts. It can be flavored with Cinnamon, lemon and further sweetened with honey.

According to the Regulating Council of Denomination of Origin “Chufa de Valencia”, they are high in unsaturated fatty acids and are good for skin and hair.

I decided one day to make my own drink.

I put it in my water bottle and covered it with water. I used a graduated bottle so that you can see for yourself how much it expands.

 

This was the following morning.

 

Gave it a whiz in the Vitamix.

The next step if you want some milk is to strain this mixture using a cheesecloth. The resulting milk can be served plain or flavoured with vanilla or a pinch of cinnamon. It can also be served cold – a good thirst quencher for our weather. 

I wanted my fiber intact so I drank it this way. A smooth drink it was not but it was really good.

Reference: African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 11, No. 5, 2011

 


25 Comments

Natural Nigerian

Please let me know how it goes. I have been hesitant to try this because I am not too sure that I will be able to deal with the taste from the rice.

Reply
Omo

Ofio is fantastic, It makes you regular as well and good for people with IBS (Irritable Bowel syndrome) thanks for sharing

Reply
Adura (Naijalines)

Yes I remember this – it’s ofio. Used to eat it in Naija. Love it. Had no idea it had such a high nutritional content. I’m hoping to get some in the UK. Wonder where I can get it from.

Reply
Natural Nigerian

I did a quick search on google and someone said that Hollands and Barrett carries it. Not sure I have ever seen it there, but it is worth checking out. This will go really well with your healthy eating regimen.

Reply
Adura (Naijalines)

It’s called ofio in Lagos. Had no idea the Yoruba name for it is imumu. That must be hinterland Yoruba, lol. the article mentioned it too. Very informative article, BTW. Thanks for sharing, NN:)

Reply
Ade

Good afternoon:
Our company markets tigernuts in Spain.
If you are interested in this product, please contact with me.
Thanks a lot.

Reply
African Naturalista

C’mon, its called Tiger nuts? Kai, I ate this stuff like mad in primary school. Unfortunately, I have not seem it any where around in the past sixteen years.

Reply
stella emmy

Quite educative, though we neglate things like this, but being natural,they are great. Glory to God.

Reply
Mildred

Its realy great to find such natural and wonderful product so cheap.i can’t stop eating it Bcos it helps in weigt loose

Reply
Matthew

Where can I get this in bulk from the Northern part of Nigeria? Or any contact in the North?

Reply
Opara A.C.

it is available in Kaduna, Bauchi and sokoto. in fact i am about to undertake a major endeavour in growing it and i live in sokoto.
i just read that the spaniards may be interested in importing! don’t know how true that is, there already importing from Mali!

Reply
laurat MD

Very interesting and educative article thanks.@Mathew u can also get it in Katsina,Kano,kebbi and almost all d northern states.

Reply
Queen

Yes Tiger nuts are in the class of superfoods. that recipe? cool! You also sweeten it up with Datepalms (Debino) and even Coconut milk.

Reply
beebs

yeah! just as queen said u can sweeten up wit datepalms and even coconut… for d ladies(“it does wonders ;)”)

Reply
hasanah

Very educative. I was told if u like spice u can blend it with fresh ginger and cloves to your taste.

Reply
Ernest Arday

Good news folks!!!
A team of entrepreneurs have succeeded in utlising tiger nuts to produce a refreshing beverage. check out their website! http://www.nutsoproducts.com. I ve had the opportunity of tasting the canned drink and Its just amazing!

Reply

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