Welcome to my first blogpost that actually succeeded in getting posted (many more of these babies just lying around in random draft messages in my gmail)
I was a bit apprehensive about blogging as there are so many questions and dilemma. Also sharing recipes I created does not come naturally to me as they are a part of me and my creativity. I guess I am just gAoing to find my way and style whilst running with this. And don’t worry - I will save the really good recipes for the workshops ;)
I do plan tp use this platform to highlight and showcase my favourite materials to work with. I hope you will love this and find it useful!!!
Today we are beginning with:
I have soooo much to say about these little golden nuggets of a legume that I shall probably split this into a few posts.
But first - a little tale:
There was a time I wanted to open a cafe (ahhh heck it’s still my dream) and call it:”Nothing new under the sun”.
This idea for a name rather shocked my family, having tasted the better (more edible) part of my innovative cooking for the past several years. I do admit to prioritizing creativity as my inspiration…. Sometimes over taste or social acceptance on what one calls food (banana peel recipes coming your way people!!)
To me the name was intuitive. So many recipes I thought were so exotic that I had geniusly invented myself - I later found existence of very similar versions, either by innovative bloggers, or food historians recounting an artform in food preparation from an ancient time.
Ingredients I thought of as revolutionary usually were just a case of becoming available at my locality, but in another country may have been staples for millennia (yes chia seeds, I am looking at you, you magical tiny inverted dragon eggs).
Also like trend cycles, endemic plants, brusquely pushed aside for the financial benefits and food-security promised by domesticated strains of plants are slowly being seeked out again by foodies, food ideologists and farmers.
Movement back to slow foods, using old techniques that were once used to cure and preserve foods for duller times are being re-adopted, with new science to back up the health benefits.
You catch my drift…. I think we can conclude that story with “and there is nothing new under the sun”.
This story seems like a tangent, but bear with me
It all began when I was looking at an amazing vegan cheese maker I found (Andersson from kojiterie, in Berlin) and I saw one of the ingredients he was using at the time was Lupini. A name I have never heard before (in English). Almost nothing excites me more than hearing about a new ingredient. One of the only things that does excite me more is understanding that I know that ingredient, under its Hebrew (and Arabic) name; Turmus.
It is in fact a local, very underrated, very outdated snack here in Israel that people used to sell on the beach along side Fava beans, like popcorn! That is right - an old ingredient used in a new way. And there is nothing new…. Ahhh I wore that catch phrase down…but at least we have closure on my story...
At the time Andersson had ceased using Lupini (his things are still amazing nonetheless though!) but that did not matter to me as I have began to research and experiment…. So let us see what all the fuss is about shall we?
I consulted my trusted food encyclopedia by Harold McGee.
Lupini is a legume. It is the seed of the lupinus plant. As a legume it is quite unusual in that it contains no digestable starch.
They are made up of about 50% indigestible carbohydrates, also known as fibre, some of which is insoluble (especially in the seed coat) and some os soluble (within the kernel) .
A moderate 5-10% of the seed is oil and then a whopping 30-40% is protein. Some varieties, for example the andean lupini cultivated by the incas (lupini mutabilis) reaches nearly 50% protein.
Apart from soy beans, this is the highest protein content amongst the legumes, and in comparison to soy it has less oil. In fact, amongst legumes (and pretty much any land-plant based food source) it has the highest protein to calorie ratio.
Lupins also have all the essential amino acids and are therefore a complete protein.
You can see why Lupin is an absolute relic! It is practically a superfood!
I immediately looked for recipes online with lupini. I was immediately inclined to make a spread with them, having them come under the category of legumes, and being a true hummus loving Israeli.
I saw many recipes for marinated snacks (I love snacking!!) But no recipes for spreads. Perfect ground for experimentation!!
Now let’s not get carried away. Of course they are not perfect! They don’t want to be eaten (too quickly) and so they have developed a protective mechanism: they have a high alkaloid level. Alkaloids can cause a host of problems to consumers.
Lupiini therefore have to be leached both before and after cooking by long soaks in water. A bit of high maintenance but highly recommended!
Luckily for us worriers, alkaloids are not quiet about their presence in foods so you shouldn’t be put off or scared by them! If they are there - you will know! They taste bitter and disgusting.
But rest assured that after soaking in water until bitterness removal, and salting, these are a delicious snack.
Another reason, I already mentioned, to get excited by them is that they are endemic to this region of the mediterrenean! How cool is it to retrace our forefathers food habits?
The endogenous variety to these areas are the lupini albus which require extensive leaching. A relatively new type (lupin angofiluus) developed in Australia containing little to no alkaloids and can be eaten pretty much directly after cooking (I still like to soak mine in water for a couple of days to improve the flavour). This strain is called sweet lupini and can be found in all the mainstream legume markets (like Levinsky). It is the bitter endogenous one that is hard to find. I have had luck purchasing it in Arabic villages where it is usually referred to as Palestinian Lupini. People have said that the bitter kind, requiring a minimum of 10 days of water and salt water soaking tastes better than the sweet Lupini at the end. I cannot say I noticed a difference that was worth the effort honestly…
There is another side effect I should warn you about if you are new to lupini. Flatulence. Yes our body’s G-d-like way of creating air! Pretty amazing phenomenom and hilarious to boot!
Top tip: whenever you read ‘indigestible carbohydrates’ let your brain read ‘Gale force winds!’. It is one of my dilemmas. We all know fibre is healthy. But fibre does cause us to bloat (in the healthiest way) and provide an uncomfortable, yet comedic sound effects laced with an aroma with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.
I suspect that if you remove the outer coat (kernel by kernel) you reduce that effect quite potently…. But I cannot pretend I have ever spent a moment doing so. I’ll take the added fiber and let my surroundings deal with the consequences…
I feel it is time I stopped sharing background knowledge and hit the recipe?
(don;t worry, this will likely not be my last post regarding lupini as they blew me away…. And everyone around me if you know what I mean…)