The tigernut milk, tigernut juice, Tigernut drink, Ofio juice, Horchata de chufa and kunun aya all mean the same thing. They are drinks made from tigernut tubers or Cyperus esculentus. It is a tasty juice that looks like soya milk in appearance but appears more dense and viscous.
The drinks and products of tiger nuts are popular in almost all the continents of the world and they have so many uses like the oil, the cake, the flour and the juice from tiger nuts.
The first time i tasted a chilled tigernut milk was in the office on a very sunny day. Sincerely, I fell in love with the taste of this drink because of the way i felt inside after taking the drink. Therefore, i have to go look for the complete recipe of the drink to be making it at home.
In this post, i will have to first bore you with the scientifically proven health benefits of the tigernut milk and give you the recipe and the preparation steps. In other words, i want you to first appreciate the importance of taking this drink and why you should start making it at home for you and your family.
If you really like taking this tigernut juice, it is important that you make it in your home to maintain the integrity of the juice and also the hygienic profile of the drink.
What is Tigernut?
The botanical name of tigernut is Cyperus esculentus lativum of the Cyperacea family. It is a tuber that has a worldwide production, It is found in almost 80 countries or more including; Europe, North Americans, Afghanistan, Indians and Africans.1
However, the tigernut milk can be dated back to over several centuries ago. In Egyptian History, when they are about to die, they paint their tomb with scenes of the things they enjoyed in life, believing the gods will provide it in abundance for them in their after life.2 So many Pharaoh’s tomb where found the tigernut milk jars and recipes drawn on the wall.
One of these tombs is the Rekhmires, it has the recipe for making the tiger nut cake with Date seeds, Honey and Tiger nuts. A similar drink is made in the Northern part of Nigeria with the Tigernuts juice and Date seed – “Kunun aya”
In Nigeria, It is grown in the northern part of the country called “Aya” by the Hausas , The yorubas call tiger nut “Ofio” while the Igbos call it “Aki Hausa (meaning Nut from Hausa land)”.
Other common names of the Tiger nut includes; Tiger Nut, Yellow nutsedge, Nut Grass, chufa sedge, water grass and edible galingale.
How to make the tigernut milk (Ofio drink, kunun aya or Aki Hausa juice, Horchata de chufa)
The juice is simple to make and requires just a few simple steps and recipes.
Recipes for Tigernut drink
To make a 50 cl full container of tiger nut juice, here are the recipes;
- 2 cups of tiger nut ( Aki hausa, Aya or Ofio)
- 4 to 5 pieces of Date seeds (Sweetening agent)
- 2 spoons of honey (A thickener and also a viscosity enhancer)
- 1 coconut fruit
- Ginger/tumeric or Garlic ( Flavoring agent).
- 2 Cups of water
- A sharp kitchen knife
- Muslin sieve or clean handkerchief
- Bowel or jug
- And a stirrer
Steps to making the tigernut milk
Step 1: Get all your recipes and materials ready
The first step is to gather all your materials and recipes. If the tiger nut is dry, soak it over night to get it soft and swollen. The coconut is broken and the husk is removed. The coconut meat (the white edible part) is cut into pieces for easy pulverization while the seeds of the Date seed is removed.
Step 2: Pulverize the ingredients together
The soaked tiger nuts, the seedless Date seeds and the Pieces of coconut is poured in a blender. Water is added gradually while the mixture is blending, continue the process till you get a smooth mixture. However,you may not get a completely smooth product because of the fibers in the fruits.
Note; Do the blending gradually, do not over burden your blender with the fruits at once. The coconut especially is tough and should be added gradually to save the stress on your blender.
Step 3: Pass the Mixture through a sieve
Using a muslin, a fine sieve or a clean handkerchief to squeeze the mixture just like the way pap is prepared. The filtrate is collected in a clean container. Put the fibers back in the blender, add water and repeat the process till you feel okay with the extraction of the juice.
Step 4: Add other ingredients such as sweetners and flavorants
The tigernut milk is a complete natural food, there are no additives or preservatives. The major extra ingredients are the sweetening and the flavoring agent.
The sweetening agent in tigernut drink is the Date seed, However, some people add sugar to theirs especially for commercial purpose. But, from history, Tigernut juice is best sweetened with honey to improve the health profile of the product.
The Flavorant is optional and will depend on your taste. You can make the juice in the form of smoothie with a pineapple flavor or just use garlic or ginger to flavor. But, never add too much flavor that will mask the taste of the tigernut juice.
Step 5: Stir, Package and freeze
Stir and mix the ingredients well. Add sufficient water to your thirst and package in a clean container. To preserve it for 2 to 3 days, put it inside the fridge.
Also, the tigernut juice is better served chilled.
Health benefits of tigernut drink
The tigernut and Date seeds have so many individual health benefits that i may exhaust in other not to bore you with too much details. However, we will bring you some of their health benefits that superimpose. Hence, the two can form a very good synergistic agents when taken in the form of a Tigernut juice.
The Tigernut juice helps to boost sperm cells and testosterone levels
If you have taken the concentrated juice before, you feel will the aphrodisiac effect of this juice. So many experiments on the juice of tigernut have all proved that it has the capability of increasing the weights of the testes and epididymes, sperm count, sperm quality and testosterone level. 3
The Date seed in the other hand in so many literature has been a very good choice for building the sperm quality,motility and quantity. 4
Therefore, a continuous consumption of tiger nut milk is very good for the men’s health. No wonder the Pharaohs are so much in love with the juice.
Both can control the blood sugar and cholesterol in Diabetics
The Date seed is a very sweet fruit. It is used by so many people as sweetening agent. Although the Date seed is sweet, it still has a way of crashing the sugar levels in the blood, reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol. 5
Also, the tiger nuts are not left out in the reduction of blood glucose nor bad cholesterol. One of the experiments in Cairo University, Egypt suggested that Tiger nuts as a functional food that can act fast in building up of good cholesterol and subsequent crashing of diabetes 6
They aid in proper digestion and absorption
In folklore medicine, the Northern part of Nigerian gives “Kunun aya” to those who have a heavy digestion, flatulence, dysentery and diarrhea. The claim is that is has plenty energy and acts as a prebiotic, also they both has a diuretic effect and helps clear the bowel.
In addition, they are rich in fiber and can help in digestion and absorption processes.
Helps to enrich the blood and prevent Anemia
The tiger nut juice is reach in minerals such as Iron, calcium and Phosphorus, magnesium and zinc which constitutes to the bulk of electrolytes in the blood.7 The iron content helps to improve the hemoglobin content of the blood and is a good remedy for anemia.
The Tigernut juice may have an anticancer activity
There is no literature to back up this claims of tiger nut juice having effects on cancerous cells. However, the Date seed (Phoenix dactylifera L.) have been evaluated and discovered that it has anticancer activity on cancerous cells such as the breast cancer. 8
Therefore,it is not totally wrong to say that the juice from this seed has an anticancer activity.
Slows down the Ageing process
The tiger nut juice is a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E which are heavy antioxidants that prevents degradation of cells. The tigernut oil is used in the cosmetics industry in body lotion and hair creams to keep the body and hair healthy.
This tigernut oil has been used 4000 years ago by the Egyptians in preference to olive oil for so many health reasons. 9
I try as much as possible not to make the health benefits of the tigernut juice so lengthy. However, there are numerous benefits of this drink that will make you want to be taking the juice each passing day.
Therefore, you may do more learning on the health benefits of Coconut ( Cocos nucifera), Date seed (Phoemix dactylifera) and Tiger nuts (Cyperus esculentus).
Finally, it is important that you prepare this juice yourself because commercial tiger nuts maybe adulterated.
Other plants you may want to know their health benefits includes: