A Wrinkly Tuber: Nigeria Wonder Tiger nut!

A wonderful wild tuber that is often cultivated in northern Nigeria for food and livelihood, used for various traditional cuisines, and eaten fresh or rehydrated as a side dish or a handy snack. Tiger nuts are wrinkled pea-sized, tiny tubers; just like coconuts but so tiny that it is referred to as a tuber with loads of fiber and fantastic health benefits, with a unique flavor of coconut and almond mix as one. A fiber-filled, sweet super-food that is a must for healthy guts; Tiger nuts are sold freshly dug out of the ground in almost every market in Nigeria and at times sold dried, or presoaked. Tiger nuts are wrinkly and chewy with a soft inside texture, a flavor of sweet nutty deliciousness like the fleshy inside of the coconut. Aya is the Hausa name for tiger nuts, known as “Aki Hausa” by the Igbos and named in Yoruba as “ofio”. Tiger nuts can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, or juiced; and for best result and excellent nutrients loads, boil or soak, roast or toast for nutritious taste and flavor tends to make Tiger nuts softer, fleshy, and easier to chew after it has been pre-soaked for several hours or for a faster result to just boil it, used for several tasty sweet snacks, mix with dairy products, garnishing for cereals, smoothies, fruits, or vegetable salads. A Naughty Nutty Snack is roasted aya mix with roasted peanuts, a popular handy snack love by many in Northern Nigeria, often hawk by kids on the street corners; serve mix with other dry fruits for easy snacks; to eat just pick a handful chew and swallow the milky white softer parts and discard the hard brown husk, but for its fiber one can swallow the chaff after chewing it very well; sweet with a white milky taste. Aya can always be eaten alone and if it is too hard just soak in water to soften, filling, sweet and so creamy yummy, nutritious too. Tiger nuts “Aya” has been used in various delicious recipes in Northern Nigeria, hardly will one find a delicious recipe without the addition of aya; such recipes include a popular royal snack known as Dakuwa in Hausa is a toasted tiger nut sweet snack balls, other Aya recipes include caramelized or sugar-coated tiger nuts, Aya Gruel is Kunun aya in Hausa, tiger nut milk is known in Hausa as Madara Aya and a Naughty Nutty Snack is roasted aya mix with roasted peanuts, a popular handy snack love by many in Northern Nigeria:-

Tiger Nut Milk is a sweet dairy-free, lactose-free, and nut-free refreshingly healthy drink; complete vegan milk that is gluten-free, grain-free whole food that is absolutely naturally sweet. A plant-based nutty milk great and delicious alternative to cow milk. Tiger nut milk is a source of natural nutrients in proportions or much more than other beverages; sugar-free tiger nut milk is suitable for diabetic people, helps in weight control, and provides digestive enzymes for those suffering from indigestion, flatulence (gas) or farts, and diarrhea. Tiger nuts drinks are free of caffeine or other stimulating substances making them a yummy and delicious natural energy drink, healthy and refreshing for both the kids and adults alike and to make it:-

Recipe Ingredients;
Tiger nuts are known as Aya in Hausa.
Water in Hausa is Ruwa.

Recipe Steps:-
Wash and soak tiger nuts overnight, then rinse and blend into a creamy, smooth paste, milky white. Then separate the milk from the pulp. Add enough water and strain tiger nut using a cheesecloth or a fine mesh. Keep tiger nuts pulp for other recipes because it contains loads of fiber and can be dried and mill into tiger nut flour for use in bread and pastry recipes. Squeeze the mass through the cheesecloths to get most of the tiger nut milk out. Store in a refill bottle, and keep it in the refrigerator. Always shake before use to mix it up.

Caramelized Tiger nuts Snacks:-
Recipe ingredients.
Roasted tiger nuts.
Sugar or honey.
Favor of choice.

Recipe Steps:-
Wash, remove stones, dry, and roast or oven toast until the aroma is perceived then spread out to cool on a tray.
Toast sugar until melted, add flavor, and just before it starts to bubble fold in the roasted tiger nuts, and turn gently; coat the roasted aya thoroughly with the melted sugar while still on low heat. Spread out immediately and allow to cool.

Kunun Aya in Hausa is tiger nut gruel:-
A sweet delicious local beverage in Northern Nigeria that serves as refreshments during special ceremonies such as weddings. A healthy drink without any sweeteners there is enough sweetness from the coconuts, dates palms, and tiger nuts. Kunun aya is a non-alcoholic drink prepared from cereal grains like millet, sorghum, rice, with spices and flavorings. Tiger nuts are an excellent substitute for cereal grains in kunun recipes.

Recipe Ingredients:-
Tiger nuts are known in Hausa as Aya.
Ginger is citta in Hausa.
Sugar is sikari in Hausa or any sweetener of choice such as honey.
Cheesecloth or fine mesh or colander.
Coconut is kwakpa in Hausa.
Dates are dabino in Hausa.
Flavors include cinnamon, vanilla, or cloves called kanampari in Hausa.
Milk is madara in Hausa.
Water is ruwa and ice-cube is kankara in Hausa.

Recipe Steps:-
The plain and simple kunun aya starts with spreading out the tiger nuts on a tray, pick stones, and bad tiger nuts. Wash thoroughly then the soaking process follows; soak in water for 24 hours about a day to soften in water, cover, and keep undisturbed. After 24 hours, notice that it will have soaked up water and doubled in size becomes so soft. Seen floating on top are the bad ones then scoop them out and discard from the good ones that settled at the bottom of the bowl. Strain water and place presoaked tiger nuts in a mortar moving them around to remove the dark colorings and rinse the good tiger nuts place them in another bowl add sliced or grated ginger, add water enough to blend. Then grind or blend until creamy smooth and milky-like consistency. Process the mass by adding adequate water to extract the milky beverage; the last step is filtering which is by using a sieve or a cheesecloth. Sweeten with any sweetener of choice. Serve chilled with ice cubes or store in refill bottles and keep in the refrigerator for use anytime.

The second method is known as the Rich Kunun Aya; The process begins with washing and soaking tiger nuts overnight to get the best milky liquid. After soaking tiger nuts it will inflate with water doubling in size; becomes soft with a crunchy texture. Wash and soak dates separately overnight, rinse and remove the hard seeds the following day. Crack open the coconuts, rinse and remove the shell from the soft fleshy white then scrape the brown covering of the coconuts and cut into tiny bits. Wash tiger nuts after soaking by scrubbing the nuts under running water to reduce the dark colorings of the chaff and to achieve a milky white beverage. Combine soaked tiger nuts, coconuts, dates, ginger, cloves, and water then blend until milky consistency and smooth. Note if using rice, then substitute the coconut for the rice.
Strain with cheesecloth, keep the pulp for other recipes. Add milk, honey, flavor, and sweetener of choice. Serve chill in glasses with ice-cubes. Store in refill bottles in the refrigerator for later use.

Dakuwa in Hausa is a toasted tiger nut sweet snack ball:-
Recipe ingredients:-
Tiger nuts are called Aya in Hausa.
Groundnuts paste “Gyada kulikuli” is groundnut cake and groundnut oil.
Chili pepper is barkono.
Ginger is citta, and cloves are kanampari in Hausa.
Sugar or honey is “Zuma” or any sweetener of choice.
Salt to taste.

Recipe Steps:-
This royal snack is delicious and so nutritious without adding the guinea corn; guinea corn is “Jar Dawa” in Hausa, but for bulk, one can always add a little of the roasted guinea corn flour. The first step in making dakuwa is to wash, dry, and lightly roast guinea corn, then grind or mill into fine guinea-corn flour. Spread out the tiger nuts on a tray and pick away the bad ones, stones, and debris; then wash it thoroughly and spread out to dry then roast tiger nuts until its aroma emanates.
Roast groundnut and remove the peels, pound or grind the roasted peanuts separately, just like peanut butter. And the same procedure applies to the roasted tiger nuts; pound or grind the tiger nuts just like the peanut paste (butter). Then combine all in a mortar and pound the roasted guinea corns, tiger nuts, and peanuts altogether. Transfer into a mixing bowl and add into it all the spices or better still pound all together with the spices. Add sugar or honey to bind all together thoroughly and beat or pound until it is all well kneaded into a smooth shiny mold. The final step is to pick just half of a handful and roll with the palms of the hands to shape into tiny little round balls.
Optional: Guinea corn or roasted corn flour is added to it to give it more volume, taste, and flavor. Groundnut oil is optional but it helps the snack to mold well but it can be skip because the kulikuli (peanut cakes), or the peanut paste has enough oil to bind the snack together.

The consumption of tiger nuts is nutritiously beneficial for overall health; it has a lot of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hypertensive properties. Tiger nuts lower the risk of heart attacks from heart-related diseases, lowering cholesterols with their heart-healthy fats. Tiger nuts boost libido with their essential nutrients effects. Tiger nuts are loaded with anti-bacterial that help to protect the body against diseases and build the immune system by fighting infections; roasting tiger nuts prior to eating them can boost their antioxidant levels and improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Tiger nuts reduce the risks of colon cancer, help heal stomach pains with their excellent fiber loads that are great for the guts, and its high insoluble fiber, which aid bowel movement by protecting against indigestion and constipation, contains enzymes that also help break down foods, relieve gas flatulence, and diarrhea; but eating too much of it may cause gas and bloat. Tiger nuts slow down the sugar absorption in the guts, which help reduce blood sugar levels.  and low in calories and fat, loads of magnesium, folic acid, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin c, vitamin e, zinc, and sodium. Tiger nuts are super high in resistant starch, helps with weight loss, the intake of tiger nuts gives a sensation of satiety, absorbing water and taking up space by keeping the stomach loaded for long which diminishes the need to consume more foods. Tiger nuts are great for folic acid that helps the formation of red and white blood cells with vitamin B9; also contains vitamin E essential for fertility in men and women, delay cell aging. Tiger nuts are a source of natural energy from their rich content of starch and sucrose which is vital for growth and a great source of vegetable proteins from their essential amino acids.
Tiger nuts are a good substitute for daily probiotic intake, just pick some handful chew on presoaked or roasted tiger nuts as snacks to maintain a healthy gut for digestion, skin health immunity, and overall healthy wellbeing. There are no high cases of reported adverse effects of eating tiger nuts but people suffering from digestion problems with sensitivities, to high-fiber foods, might experience stomach bloating and gassing, cramping, and diarrhea; tiger nuts contain “anti-nutrients” which reduce certain nutrient absorption in the gut that may affect and reduce the number of vitamins and minerals the stomach can absorb. A vegan diet such as tiger nuts is a great alternative for avoiding and consuming foods of animal origin; tiger nuts are delicious and ideal snacks, for athletes and active people that help to improve physical performance. Food supplements health tips to note; Do not ALWAYS pop the pills but rather nosh on natural fruits and most especially organic foods, also best to avoid too many carbonated drinks, eating processed can foods and pastry snacks. A vital piece of advice for healthy wellbeing and living is to make synthetic pills the last option after consulting with the doctors!