When I saw a photo on Facebook of some delicious raw granola that Hannah (from A Foodly Affair) made, I was instantly reminded of the super delicious raw granola from Samudra Cafe that I often crave (too bad it’s a three hour drive away!). I couldn’t believe I hadn’t attempted to replicate the Samdura recipe before now. You see raw food has a way of making you feel refreshed and full. You actually feel good after eating it, as if you can taste the nutrition. I immediately set out on a raw food adventure.
It starts with soaking
Nuts, grains, seeds and lentils have a protective enzyme layer around them, which is actually hard for the human body to digest. Another layer, called phytic acid, can also block the absorption of nutrients into your system. By soaking, you can neutralize the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, preparing the food for optimal absorption into the body. By kickstarting the germination process it also increases the nutritional content, particularly if you go one step further and try sprouting. This is just soaking for a longer period of time until the particular food starts sprouting. A great time chart for this can be found here.
There’s also dehydrating
Dehydrating involves drying out the product with a low temperature without losing any of the nutritional content (cooking raw foods at high temperatures is known to reduce the nutritional content). By removing the water content of the food it also inhibits the growth of microforms such as bacteria.
After looking at a few different recipes I decided that I was going to use primarily buckwheat and almonds in my granola. I checked the soaking time (8-12 hours for almonds and 6 hours for buckwheat). I then simply put them in two separate containers and added water (note: adding salt can fasten the process but I had time so I left the salt out). Ideally you should rinse them once during the soaking process (to get rid of those enzymes and acids) or at the very least they should be thoroughly rinsed at the end.
Once they were both done I decided to split the food in half and experiment. I would leave half of it raw, and I would dehydrate the other half. This was more for texture – I like a bit of crunch in my granola!
Unfortunately I don’t have a dehydrator, and if I get one I’ll be getting an Excalibur deydrator which has large square trays so I can make pizza bases (the cheaper dehydrators are circular with a contraption in the middle, so you can’t make anything with a large surface area). Until I make a regular habit of making raw food (to justify the purchase of the Excalibur) I have to experiment with my oven in the meantime. I set my oven to the lowest temperature with the fan on and placed half the soaked almond and buckwheat batch on a tray. I baked the buckwheat for about 3 hours and the almonds for about 6 hours. It sounds like a long time, but lets not forget the temperature was so low in the oven that I could pull the tray out without using an oven mit! I think the bad energy usage of the oven is probably a justifiable reason to get that Excalibur though!
With the leftover soaked mix, using the thermomix (alternatively use a blender) I coarsely chopped the almonds and some coconut. I then mixed this together with the buckwheat, some sultanas and a few tablespoons of raw honey. It formed a somewhat wet mix so I kept it in a container in the fridge.
When I finished dehydrating the almonds and buckwheat I kept them in a seperate container so they would stay dry and crispy.
The next morning I was SO excited to try out the granola. I combined the wet mix with the dry mix and added rice milk and some sliced banana. Even my partner was pretty keen to try it out. The verdict? DELICIOUS! I couldn’t believe how relatively easy it was to make my own raw granola. The best part was it kept me full for hours.
I’m going to continue experimenting with raw granola, trying a few different combinations and trying to perfect the recipe. But for now, I’m pretty stoked with my first try. Breakfast is sorted!