‘The best artists are the ones that work the hardest, and if you work hard enough, you’ll eventually experience the happy accidents that are art.’
Wandering into our favourite Indian supermarket, Abu Bakr, seeking new and exciting ingredient inspiration, there’s so much on offer. Inspiring produce from all over the world: spices, fruits, vegetables, oils, plant products, beans, dried goods, vinegars – base ingredients that can truly rock a great yoga retreat menu. Barberries are a wonderful little Persian tarty surprise hiding away on aisle three, an ingredient we stumble across by complete accident. Let’s give them a try. Said to have great benefits for the intestine and digestion, they’re packed with antioxidants and rich in vitamin C. In this raw ball recipe they provide a sour jolt to your tastebuds inside a rich, syrupy, luxurious, nutty treat. Marvel your dinner guests with this not-so-common and curios taste in your raw balls.
200g dried date
100g dried prune
30g dried barberry
2 teaspoon fenugreek leaf
100g desiccated coconut
20g flaked dried rose leaf
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 teaspoon spirulina
1. Brown the cashews and pistachios on a dry, oil-free, thick-based, flat pan on a low heat.
2. Pulse the nuts in a blender. Don’t blend. You want to keep some larger nut pieces for texture and do your best not to obliterate the nuts to dust.
3. Add the fruit (date, prune and barberry) and blend. Now that the fruit is involved, the nuts won’t blend to dust so quickly.
4. If you need to add nuts or fruit to get the wet/dry balance right now, then do so. See the notes below on balancing the wetness with the dryness.
5. Add the spirulina, fenugreek and coconut oil and blend briefly until everything is mixed.
6. Roll the mix into balls in your hand and then roll the sticky balls in the dessicated coconut and flaked rose petals.
7. Freeze in a plastic tub.
8. Take raw balls out of the freezer twenty-minutes before serving so they can soften.
Enjoy, and please let us know how you get on with yours.
Notes on making barberry, rose and pistachio raw balls
Balance wet and dry
The trick to a good raw ball is to balance the nuts with the fruit to make that perfect sticky, chewy, claggy, firm, textured crunch. Usually, it’s about fifty/fifty – Fifty-percent fruit and fifty-percent nuts. Adding nuts makes the mix drier. Adding fruit makes the mix wetter. If you’ve moist fruit then you’ll want to use more nuts to balance. If you’ve drier fruit, then use more fruit or add some wetter fruit, like prunes. Oil and any powders you use do the same thing – powders make the mix drier and oil makes the mix wetter. You’ll know when you’ve got the perfect mix when the mix binds together as a heavy mass in the blender that clings to the blades.
Toast your nuts
Nuts taste great, but they taste so much better when they’ve been toasted. On a low light, with a thick-based pan, brown your nuts. The heat releases so much flavour in the nut, especially the pistachios in this recipe. Yummy.
Texture makes room for flavour
Subtle flavours of rose and coconut work well on the outside of the raw ball because they’re aerated. If the rose petal was in the raw ball mix you wouldn’t taste it, but on the textured perimeter of the raw ball you get the real nose of the subtle flavours through your mouth and nose before chewing into the rich centre.
Get involved with fenugreek. Fake maple syrup is often made using fenugreek extract so it’s a very similar flavour to maple. It’s a subtle, aromatic, middling flavour note that provides a great rich base for other tastes and noses to flourish. Here, the fenugreek provides the syrupy-safe-centre-ground for the sharp barberry and the nasal and floral rose.