THE TIGER NUT COMPANY: A Paleo In The UK Review
So when the lovely people at The Tiger Nut Company reached out to us to suggest that we could list them in our Store Cupboard Resources section we were happy to. As you may know, finding Paleo (and AIP) approved store cupboard ingredients in the UK is perhaps getting easier, but it’s still not as mainstream as we’d like.
Ali at The Tiger Nut Company did make sure that we knew that some of their products weren’t totally Paleo and AIP compliant – but in a world where every ‘alternative flour’ is either nut-based, coconut (which can be irritating to some) or basically a sugar-bomb, there is something really magical about Tiger Nuts. In their whole form, their peeled form and as flour they are perfectly Paleo AND AIP.
For anyone with nut, coconut or grain-based issues – flours and milks are the bugbear. Armed with Tiger Nuts or Tiger Nut Flour you can make cakes, biscuits and any number of bread-type recipes. You can also make your own Tiger Nut Milk (Horchata).
(Please note: it is the pre-made Tiger Nut Mylks sold by The Tiger Nut Company that are not Paleo or AIP compliant – however, they do sell a fabulous Tiger Nut Milk Making Kit – meaning you can DIY at home!)
Why Tiger Nuts?
Tiger Nuts are not a nut – they are a tiny tuber. As such they are fibrous and also starchy which means they can be ground to make one of the more ‘healthful’ flour alternatives (as opposed to cassava or tapioca which are basically very refined and highly glycaemic in the body). But let’s face it, if you’re making breads, cakes and biscuits your main concern isn’t the health, it’s the usability and the taste.
Tiger Nut Flour, unlike coconut flour, can be used as a straight replacement for ordinary flour in recipes. It has a slightly grainy texture and is definitely not as refined as white flour – but it is perhaps on a par with a more wholemeal wheat flour in terms of graininess.
The Tiger Nut Company’s Products
The Tiger Nut Company sent us a couple of their products to try out. Their vacuum-packed Tiger Nut Flour is organic and sustainably grown, packed at source. This vacuum-packing does compress the flour a little bit, so we really had to break it up before we could use it, but it did make a great addition to a morning smoothie. We obviously didn’t try it on cereal or porridge (because, Paleo) but it probably would work well if you’re one of the Paleo-folk who eats oatmeal etc. It feels like adding fibre to things – very healthy, almost tasteless but adds bulk and body.
The main thing we wanted to do, though, is cook with it. And we wanted to put it to the ultimate test: an AIP recipe that even our founder, Victoria, would eat (and, as we’ve said before, she’s weird). Now, AIP recipes are tricky because they must be without the common binders of eggs, milk, butter etc. We also didn’t want to utilise one of the ‘fake egg’ tricks because these typically contain seeds and/or gums which are more complex. We wanted a recipe anyone could make, that was quick and easy – and tasted good.
We opted for a Tiger Nut Shortbread Cookie recipe from feastingonfruit.com. Easy to make, the only issue was getting the dough to a consistency that was sticky enough but not too sticky. The Tiger Nut Flour lent a nice texture and seemed to work really well.
Now, pre-Paleo, a couple of us confess to being avid cake bakers. We know what makes a good ingredient to work with and once we’d bashed up the grains to make sure there were no lumps, Tiger Nut Flour was a breeze to use.
15 minutes later we had Shortbread Cookies. We just about managed to let them cool before topping them with a (non-AIP-compliant) cocoa version of the recipe’s dipping sauce. Popped in the fridge, these were set within minutes, the miraculous properties of coconut oil meaning that this kind of topping dries much more quickly than actual melted chocolate.
Well… put it simply… our first batch disappeared.
By which we mean that before we got chance to try any, they were tried by a friend. Who liked them so much that they ‘acquired’ the remainder of the batch… (very ‘coconutty’, apparently… which was a good thing…) For a verdict on Tiger Nut Flour (both usage and taste), this probably tells you all you need to know.
Empowered by our first attempt, it was a breeze to make some more. In our second batch we replaced the coconut oil in the topping with a coconut butter which has slightly less coconut flavour so we could properly get a sense of the flavour of the Tiger Nut Flour. And that’s the thing – there was no distinct ‘nutty’ flavour. The Tiger Nut Flour just gave a really nice, crispy and crunchy, biscuity taste – and they were actually yummy. Even Victoria said so… we made her a naked one (sans cocoa topping) and after having a habit of swerving any type of ‘flour alternative’ she happily gave these the thumbs up and asked for a link to the recipe…
Don’t get us wrong – these were ‘healthy’ biscuits. Everything that you bake with alternative flours and sugars will not feel like a digestive or a Maryland cookie, because it’s not possible and it’s not the point. And yet, if you crave something sweet and want an alternative to nut flours or coconut flour (which, let’s face it, is just way too much coconut after a while) then Tiger Nut Flour is actually perfect. And the amount of maple syrup in this recipe is not enough to send you on a massive sugar rollercoaster either…
What Else Can You Do With Tiger Nuts – and How ‘Healthful’ Is This Really in the Context of Paleo?
We placed a high demand on our Tiger Nut Flour. If you are Paleo and you want to use eggs, non-dairy milks (make your own Horchata if you want!), butter/ghee and/or more chocolate, nuts, seeds, flavourings etc. then using Tiger Nut Flour is as simple and as easy as using regular flour. It does feel a little more textured, so bear this in mind – but other than that, the uses for biscuits, macaroons, shortbreads, crumble toppings and in desserts or even savoury recipes such as breads seem pretty limitless. It isn’t highly absorbent so you aren’t going to need a tonne of oils, eggs and binders – so this can actually be used to make fairly ‘healthful’ wheat-flour alternatives.
Now, we’re not going to say that Tiger Nut Flour is a health food. It’s possibly got a little bit more prebiotic fibre than your average wheat replacement, but that doesn’t make it a virtuous food if you’re going to make cakes with it. They’re still cakes after all. However, this isn’t pure, refined, starch-based flour (such as cassava), this does come from a tuber and so has more fibre to it, reducing the glycaemic load a little.
However, if you want to experiment with a flour which is safe for those with many inflammatory or autoimmune issues, if you want to add bulk and fibre to smoothies in a way that doesn’t involve psyllium husks or chia seeds (which can be really rough for sensitive digestions), and if you want to add a little variety into your Paleo and AIP Store Cupboard, then this is a perfect solution.
Moreover, when you head over to The Tiger Nut Company to buy your flour… make sure you buy some of the Tiger Nuts to eat. They are wonderful to snack on, and for those who are AIP and missing having a handful of nuts, this is the way to go. They also do a variety of fineness of ground Tiger Nuts: with a milled version, a powder version and a “crunch”. If you’re into ‘healthy’ chocolate then they also do a yummy (and yes, we tried it) chocolate bar with Tiger Nuts. It’s not quite Dairy Milk Fruit ‘n’ Nut, but many would say that’s not a bad thing! This is a wonderful treat and is Paleo (not strict AIP, as it is not carob).
In short – Tiger Nuts are a cool alternative to everything that is nice-to-eat. As snacks and for smoothie bulking these can be nourishing and yummy, but used as flours and milks these products from The Tiger Nut Company can prove to be a real boon to anyone trying to have a Paleo or AIP kitchen.
The Paleo In The UK Product Pages
Our delight at finding some really good products through The Tiger Nut Company led us to re-evaluate our Paleo Resources Pages – and we are in the process of revamping our Store Cupboard section to prove far more useful, useable and a better resource for our Paleo and AIP readers. We are building a searchable, categorised Products Area which will include books, store cupboard foods, snacks, skincare and household products – containing direct links to the places where these can be purchased.
Know of a Paleo Product or sell a Paleo Product and like to be listed? Get in touch today…