The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.
I looked through my pantry and found some raw almonds, so that is what helped me to decide to do almond butter. I used the nut butter to make one of my favourite curries - chicken korma. For my nut butter, I added no additional oil or salt. I left the seasoning to the cooking stage.
Nut butter - 1/4 c raw whole almonds ground until desired texture was achieved.
- The process for making various types of nut butters is essentially the same. Pour nuts into bowl of food processor. Grind the nuts in the processor until they form a paste or butter. The nuts first turn into powdery or grainy bits, then start to clump and pull away from the side of the bowl, and finally form a paste or butter. The total time required depends on the fat and moisture content of the nuts; grinding time will vary from roughly 1 to 4 minutes (assuming a starting volume of 1 to 2 cups [240 to 480 ml] nuts). Processing times for a variety of nuts are described below.
- You may add oil as desired during grinding to make the nut butter smoother and creamier or to facilitate grinding. Add oil in small increments, by the teaspoon for oily nuts like cashews or by the tablespoon for dryer/harder nuts like almonds. You may use the corresponding nut oil or a neutral vegetable oil like canola.
- The inclusion of salt in the nut butters is optional and to taste. If you make nut butters from salted nuts, peanuts or cashews for example, you will not need additional salt. We recommend making unsalted nut butters for use in the challenge recipes (and other savory recipes) since the recipes call for salt or salty ingredients. You can then adjust the salt to taste. If you are making nut butter for use as a spread, you should add salt according to your preference.
- Roasting the nuts before making nut butters is optional according to your preference. To roast nuts in the oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4). Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until nuts are fragrant and a shade darker in color. Allow nuts to cool before grinding. Roasted nuts will make butter with darker color than raw nuts.
- It’s helpful to keep in mind that the yield of nut butter is about half the original volume of nuts. If you start with 1 cup nuts, you’ll get about ½ cup nut butter.
- The consistency of nut butters varies from thin & soft (almost pourable) to very thick and hard depending on the fat content of the nut. (See links below for nutrition info on variety of nuts.) Homemade nut butters will probably not be as smooth as commercial products.
- Homemade nut butters are more perishable than commercial products and should be stored in the refrigerator. The nut butters harden & thicken somewhat upon chilling.
I then used it in a recipe for korma I found on a Jamie Oliver Forum. Here is the link. http://www.jamieoliver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=27153 It was a very tasty version indeed!
1.kg Chicken breast or mini breast fillets
1 heaped tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced
150g thick (plain) yogurt (I used Liberty Mediterranean Style Plain)
1 dried red chilli
2 finely chopped onions
1 tbsp ghee or veg. oil
1 tbsp ground coriander
Pinch of ground black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
75g creamed coconut (I substituted 2/3 c low fat coconut milk)
salt, to taste
2 heaped tbsps ground almonds (this is where I added my nut butter)
finely chopped Coriander Leaves, to garnish (omitted)
juice of 1/2 lemon (omitted)
My omissions were purely a personal taste thing - I wanted to taste the dish in its purest form. Yes, I am that obsessed about Indian food.
1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized chunks
2. Mix the chicken with the ginger, garlic and yogurt. Cover and marinade for 12 hours or in the fridge overnight.
3. Liquidise the chopped onion and red chillies, add a little water if you need to. blend til smooth.
4. Heat the ghee/oil in a pan.
5. Add the ground coriander, ground black pepper, turmeric and garam masala and stir fry for about 1-minute over a low heat.
6. Turn up the heat, add the onion and chilli paste and stir fry for 10-minutes.
7. Add the chicken and the marinade and continue to stir fry for another 10-minutes.
8. Add the creamed coconut and enough water to *just* cover the chicken and bring to the boil, stirring until the coconut is dissolved. Stir in the ground almonds.
9. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is tender (30-40 minutes).
10. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and salt to taste. Mix well.
The final product was very delicious and tasted even better the next day as leftovers. The combination of the almonds, ginger, garlic and coconut milk made for a nice creamy rich tasting sauce.