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Power up flavors, nutrients with raisins in everyday dishes

July 11, 2019

Do not underestimate the power of itty bitty raisins. Despite their size,they are packed with energy and are rich in vitamins and minerals. So when used to sweeten dishes they automatically double up fiber content and a host of health benefits in food.

How?

Consumed regularly and in moderation, raisins can effectively aid digestion, boost iron levels and keep the bones strong to start with.

Moreover, studies show that when used as an ingredient in cooked food or desserts, its antioxidant contents may reduce the risk for malignancies in the stomach and colon.

Certified baker and pastry chef Klaus Tenbergen

And aptly nicknamed “Mother Nature’s Candy” by California Raisins producers, the company specifically suggests raisins’ use as a healthier binding agent for Asia’s bevy of sweet-and-sour dishes, as a sauce thickener and counterpart to acidity.

Easy recipes

In a cooking demo attended by The Manila Times, certified baker and pastry chef Klaus Tenbergen and food engineer Priscilla Santiago presented recipes that are easy to replicate at home and would only require a few ingredients.

“This is a way of combining a bunch of things which are good for you, to make it into a nutritional powerhouse,” shared Tenbergen in a media roundtable following the cooking demo. “Of course we like sweets, but we also get something that benefits our digestive system, our body, our taste buds, and it’s easy to make.”

The cooking demo saw Tenbergen and Santiago making quick snacks to fulfill sweet cravings — the Coconut California Raisin Bites and the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Mug Cake which took less than 10 minutes from start to finish (see sidebar).

For the Coconut California Raisin Bites, raisins were used as a binding agent and its raw form for texture. On the other hand, the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Mug Cake uses ingredients that are common at home.

Savory dishes

The culinary experts also recommend using raisins in savory dishes, like their creation of a pizza with tomato puree and shredded mozarella stuffed crust. But instead of using tomato sauce in the base, they used raisin paste with balsamic vinegar. The sweet and sour flavors of the pizza is topped with chicken, pistachios, apples, pineapples, cheese, fresh herbs and seasonings.

Tenbergen and Santiago also recommend recreating the dishes: chicken thighs cooked with rosemary, chicken stock, rosemary, raisins, tomatoes; rice pilaf with raisins which is common in Indian cooking to complement spicy and rich curries; chili con carne with ground beef, chilis, tomatoes, olives, counterbalanced with raisins.

“You should remember the ba­lance of the acidity and the sweetness. If you make something savory, you don’t want to overpower the sweetness of the raisins. And vice versa, if you make something sweet and you add something savory to it. You don’t want to put too much,” added Tenbergen. “It’s not tasting like raisins, it’s complemented by raisins which is different from eating just raisins.”

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Easy raisin-laced treats to make in under 10 minutes

Coconut California Raisin Bites

Ingredients:

288g California Raisins

72g Shredded coconut (unsweetened)

55g Almonds

100g Coconut oil

100g Wheat germ (toasted)

150g Oats (toasted)

150g Raisin paste

85g Apricot jam

Place all the ingredients except the shredded coconut, wheat germ, and oats in a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes paste. Add the wheat germ and oats to the paste and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Form balls and roll them in shredded coconut. Place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Mug Cake

Ingredients:

170g California Raisins

340g Milk of choice

100g Vegetable oil

180g Honey

300g All-purpose or gluten-free flour

150g Oats

12g Baking powder

7.5g Salt

3.3g Cinnamon

Whisk milk, oil and honey. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, and whisk again. Stir in half of the California Raisins. Mix all ingredients together. Coat a coffee mug with cooking spray and flour. Add the batter. Sprinkle the top with some oats, the remaining California Raisins, and cinnamon to taste. Cook in the microwave for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, depending on the oven. The cake is ready when it has stopped rising and no longer looks wet around the sides. Let cool slightly before serving.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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