Almonds in every healthy, yummy form

Almonds

I love almonds in any form — soaked overnight in water when the sweetness comes out, roasted, in almond butter and almond milk. – Hooi Khaw

The past week has been about almonds, having washed and soaked a big bowl of them in Kangen water, from a machine which I bought early this year.

It’s alkaline water, with PH 9.5. I use this water to “sprout” the almonds for 2 days. Then I take out the amount I need and put it in my Philips blender, the one with sharp blades and a sieve inside. A couple of intense whirrs, and my almond milk is done.

The Philips blender that I use, with a sieve fitted inside

The Philips blender that I use, with a sieve fitted inside

The rest of the sprouted almonds are bagged and put in the freezer, and are there whenever I need them.

I had almond milk with a banana and walnuts this morning, for breakfast. I could also have had the almond milk with granola, or dried fruits, nuts and chia seeds. It is a wonderful non-dairy alternative. Milk sets my stomach growling and gives me the runs. (Chinese are known to be susceptible to lactose intolerance).

Oh yes, if you are an avid fan of Hang Yan Cha, the Chinese almond milk, you can add Chinese almonds — nam hang, pak hang — into the blender together with the sprouted almonds, then boil the milk with a little rock sugar, and you have a supremely satisfying hang yan cha!  It’s as pure and unadulterated as it comes. For this, I would only trust restaurants like Elegant Inn and Chef Choi to give me the best Hang Yan Cha.

Hang Yan Cha with no rice flour or thickeners added

Hang Yan Cha with no rice flour or thickeners added

If you don’t have a Kangen machine, use a good mineral water to soak the almonds. You can cover the bowl of almonds with a sieve or gauzy food cover and leave it on your kitchen counter. The water needs to be changed every day for two days.

The sprouting enhances the sweetness of the almonds. No actual sprouts are seen; it’s just sprouting within the nuts.

You have to believe their sweetness, especially in the raw almond butter which my god-daughter Queeny Kong makes. She sprouts the nuts for two days, then puts them in a dehydrator under a low temperature for four days before turning it into raw almond butter in a food processor. All she adds is a bit of sea salt to it, and that gives it depth, balance, and expresses its sweetness even more.

Raw almond butter that's naturally sweet from sprouting almonds, with no sugar added

Raw almond butter that’s naturally sweet, from sprouting nuts, with no sugar added

It’s another healthy breakfast idea — cut up a banana or apple, dip the fruit in the almond butter, and it tastes just wonderful.

You could put it on bread, but I would put slices of banana on the bread first, drizzle the almond butter on them, and yums!!

Queeny sells this raw almond butter which tastes so different from almond butter made from roasted almonds which you find in the supermarkets.

Health benefits

Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. They also contain zinc, selenium and copper.

They help solve problems from constipation to respiratory disorders, anaemia and diabetes. They are also good for maintaining healthy skin, hair, bones and teeth. Almonds help in the development and health of the brain, and children should be given some almonds to eat.

Older people should eat almonds regularly too as they contain riboflavin and L-carnitine which have been shown to increase brain activity, prevent neural degeneration and may help deter the occurrence of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Almonds help regulate cholesterol by reducing LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels and are good for the heart.

Best of all, almonds work in helping you maintain your weight, even shedding some extra weight because of the good fats they contain. The monounsaturated fat and dietary fibre in almonds fill you up and prevent excess eating. The fibre also contributes to weight loss through regular bowel movements and elimination of toxins.

Whether it’s roasted almonds, soaked almonds, almond milk or almond butter, eating them will keep you in the pink of health.

Here’s a recipe for Hang Yan Char or Almond Milk with Apricot Kernels. You can buy the apricot kernels in the Chinese herbal shops. Most recipes would add rice powder but I don’t as the almonds give it the creaminess without the starchiness. Hang Yan or apricot kernels are believed to be good for the lungs and skin.

Chinese almonds that are actually apricot kernels. Two types are here -- Nam Hang, Pak Hang

Chinese almonds that are actually apricot kernels. Two types are here — Nam Hang, Pak Hang

Almond Milk or Hang Yan Cha

  • 180g almonds
  • 20g Nam Hang or southern apricot kernels
  • 10g Pak Hang or northern apricot kernels
  • 800 ml water
  • A few lumps of rock sugar (to taste)

Method

  1. Wash and soak almonds in mineral water or Kangen alkaline water for 2 days. Change the water daily.
  2. Soak the apricot kernels in water overnight.
  3. Drain the apricot kernels and almonds and put them in the blender with mineral water, Kangen water or plain water.
  4. If your blender has a sieve like in the Philips model, just pour out the milk. If not, put the almond milk through a sieve.
  5. Simmer the almond over a low fire for two minutes, adding rock sugar. Taste for sweetness and take it off the fire.

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