The chufain Italian sweet bunting or ground almond – familiar to anyone who has been to Valence as the protagonist of a famous beverage, is a sweet tuber to discover. Below we go deeper into it properties and advantageswithout forgetting the contraindications to be aware of.
And, of course, the receipts with this particular food from which a versatile flour is obtained. How is chufa eaten? And where to buy it? Here’s everything you want to know.
What is chufa
The chufa is the tuber of the herbaceous plant Cyperus esculentus belonging to the family of Ciperaceae. It is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows on vertical stems and has small ones roots browns which, contrary to custom, have a rounded shape and a rough and irregular appearance reminiscent of a hazelnut.
It is believed that his origins date back to the prehistoric period even if its first traces date back to the 15th century BC Proof of this is the discovery of a sample of chufa in an Egyptian sarcophagus. Today it is appreciated in horchata, a typical Valencian drink that we explore below, but there are several products obtained from the tuber, first of all flour, widely used in the manufacture of bread.
Nutritional values of chufa
THE nutritional values della chufa are interesting for the richness of fibers and minerals. It is also a good source of carbohydrates vegetable proteins. The fact that it does not contain gluten makes it suitable for celiacs and the intolerant. Being a vegetable makes it ideal for food vegans and vegetarians.
100 grams of chufa contain:
- Carbohydrates: 42.5g
- Fat: 23.7g
- Protein: 6.1g
- Iron: 3.41mg
- Phosphorus: 232.2 mg
- Fiber: 17.4g
- Calories: 409 calories
It also provides antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and arginine, digestive enzymes and monounsaturated fatty acids such as omega-9 oleic acid. It does not contain caffeine, lactose and fructose.
Chufa, properties and advantages
The high fiber content makes chufa an excellent ally against constipation. But at the same time, promoting the feeling of satiety, it makes it ideal for those who are a diet or want to lose weight. The lipase and amylase enzymes it contains promote regular bowel movementand good digestion.
It is a source of unsaturated fats and antioxidants which promote cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Among the minerals it contains, iron stands out, useful in the prevention ofanemia. Amino acids, on the other hand, are useful for strengthening the immune system. Arginine, naturally present in proteins and one of the 20 essential amino acids, promotes the dilation of blood vessels, promoting better blood circulation. And in fact, it improves circulation and blood pressure.
The vitamin C and vitamin E content can help maintain good levels of antioxidants and thus prevent certain health problems. Finally, the wealth of vegetable proteins and the fact that it is a natural source of energy and fibre, means that it helps a reduce cholesterol and regulate glucose levels. It is an excellent food for athletes.
Chufa is safe for a large number of people. The contraindications few are related to it. Unless abused: by consuming more than 50 grams, its excess fiber could lead to stomach-related side effects, such as colon pain or diarrhea.
Chufa, used in the kitchen
How to eat chufa? First, once purchased, it should be stored directly in its vacuum-sealed packaging or in an airtight container in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. In summer, preferably in the refrigerator.
The tuber has an earthy, starchy, and sweet flavor that vaguely resembles that of nuts. In addition to horchata, it can be enjoyed dry and whole as an aperitif. But also in sweet and savory recipes where it is used reduced to flour.
What is chufa flour? It is an alternative, natural and gluten-free flour obtained by grinding the whole tuber. It is followed by sieving which gives it a fine texture ideal for use in the kitchen.
With the flour you can make sweets and savory of different types, such as wraps, cakes, cookies, pancakes.
Finally, on the market there is also thechoufa oil, with which you can dress starters and main courses but also salads. An example are rice or couscous.
Horchata, chufa drink
Who do you ask what is chufa milk, it is nothing more than horchata, a natural and refreshing drink typical of the Valencian Community. It looks like a kind of milk, but denser and sweeter, with a bitter aftertaste.
Being in season between July and August, the chufa drink it is widely consumed to cool off from the summer heat and is traditionally accompanied by typical desserts – i farton – with a long form that needs to be dipped in it.
It is made with ground chufa, water, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon.
Let’s go to the heart ofuse of chufa in the kitchen with a series of sweet and savory recipes in which to use it to better appreciate it in delicious dishes or refreshing drinks.
- 250 g of chufa
- 1 liter of cold water
- 80 grams of powdered sugar
- Put the chufa to soak in a bowl with water and let it sit for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator, changing the water at least twice.
- Drain it and blend it in a food processor for a few minutes. Now mix it with half of the water, until you get a thick paste.
- Transfer it to a colander and strain, pressing well so that all the liquid comes out. Chop what remains in the colander with the remaining water by repeating the same operation.
- Finally add the icing sugar and mix, then enjoy cold.
- 1 -¼ cup tapioca flour
- ¾ cup chufa flour
- ⅔ glass of water
- 6 tablespoons seed oil
- 2 pinches of salt
- In a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Pour the water and mix.
- Then add the flour and salt, and mix with a wooden spoon until you get a homogeneous mixture.
- Heat a large frying pan and grease it with a little oil. Once hot, pour a ladle of batter and spread it evenly.
- Cook it for about 2 minutes, then turn it over and cook for another 60 seconds. Continue until the dough is used up.
Chufa flour bread
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1 cup chufa flour
- 1 1/4 cup flour 00
- ½ packet of baking powder for savory pies
- Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dry ones in another and add them to the previous ones.
- Mix thoroughly to avoid lumps forming, then transfer the mixture to a cake tin lined with parchment paper.
- Level and transfer to a hot oven at 180°C for about 40 minutes. Let cool, remove from pan and enjoy.
Chufa flour cake
- 3 eggs
- 170g coconut flour
- 1 yogurt
- 125 ml seed oil
- 50ml soy milk
- 15 g baking powder
- 150g sugar
- Grated lemon zest
- 100 g of choufa flour
- Work the eggs and the sugar until you obtain a homogeneous mixture.
- Add the flour, salt, yeast, yogurt, milk and oil and mix at low speed for a few tens of seconds.
- Transfer to a buttered and floured mold and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool and serve, sprinkling icing sugar on top.
Chufa flour pancakes
- 1 egg
- 90 g of choufa flour
- 30g tapioca flour
- 125ml milk
- 1 pinch of salt
- vanilla extract
- seed oil to taste
- Sift the flours with the salt. Work the eggs and the milk.
- Add the flour little by little and mix well until you get a homogeneous mixture.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and pour a ladle of batter.
- Spread evenly and cook the pancakes 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
Where to buy Chufa?
Not being a particularly common food in Italy, it can be purchased in stores specializing in ethnic or natural foods. But the widest choice and convenience of purchase is of course through the chufa online saleto food or generic e-commerce.