Small, rough, rounded in shape and earth-like in colour, chufa, otherwise known as tigernut in English, looks like a dehydrated hazelnut at first glance, but it is not a nut at all. It is a small tuber, and a super(food) tuber at that.
With a slightly sweet, nutty flavour that some liken to coconut or almonds, chufa was first discovered over 4,000 years ago, and was widely used by ancient Egyptians for their healing and regenerative properties. The tigernut has since been proven to be rich in energy content, minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamins E and C. It helps prevent heart disease and thrombosis, aids blood circulation and also reduces the risk of colon cancer.
One-month-old local start-up Chufala specialises in chufa products, and they see tigernut’s dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free and cholesterol-free properties as ideal for those with food allergies. Their range of products include raw ($4.50 for 40g) and peeled ($5 for 40g) chufa, which can be eaten on their own as a snack or chopped up and sprinkled over salads for texture. Also available is chufa powder ($7.50 for 100g; $22.50 for 400g) that can be added to smoothies and cereal, or even used as a flour substitute. See below for an easy-to-put-together yogurt parfait recipe.
While Chufala sources their tigernut from Valencia, Spain, they produce their own horchata de chufa ($5 for 150ml) locally. Horchata, a creamy beverage made with milk derived from ground chufa, water, and sugar, is the Spanish equivalent of a nut milk or soy bean milk. Usually served extremely cold, horchata de chufa is a popular summer drink in Spain and a delicious way to enjoy the healthy benefits of tigernut. Chufala makes their without any addition of refined sugar thanks to the natural sweetness from the chufa, resulting in a much healthier beverage.
Triple Berry Parfait
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons Chufa Powder
½ cup fresh strawberries, sliced
½ cup fresh blueberries, sliced
½ cup fresh blackberries
- In a small bowl, mix together yogurt and 2 tablespoons of chufa powder.
- Place the ¼ the blackberries at the bottom on the parfait glass.
- Top with ¼ of yogurt, followed by ¼ of strawberries.
- Sprinkle ¼ of the blue berries. Repeat layers.
- Sprinkle remaining chufa powder on top and serve immediately.