This recipe comes from my old book about Five Elements Theory of Chinese Cooking, and it’s one of the recipes that supposed to warm and strengthen your body. Also the author recommends this drink to prevent flu and cold so it’s great for the winter time. So if you feel like the cold is coming maybe it will be better remedy than going to a pharmacy.
Important note: author warns that you may experience some of the side effects if your body is not used to large dose of warming agents. So keep it in mind, and if you discover itchy rash on your hands, itchy eyes or red spots on your face or torso, have some water with lemon or cottage cheese. Author also dissuade from this drink if you take hormone pills or antibiotics.
There’s also some other benefits from cayenne pepper. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne peppers, is what gives them their medicinal properties. Cayenne pepper can improve your digestion and make your stomach boost defense against infections and injuries. May also relieve the pain of your joints and muscles, it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines use cayenne pepper to help treat circulatory problems. Ofcourse like with every natural methods, to make it work you need to be consistent and systematic. Start with small amount of cayenne, 1/4 of teaspoon, like in the recipe. When your stomach gets used to capsaicin you can start increasing the amount of cayenne. My partner loves spicy food, so he can put one full teaspoon to that cacao and drink it with pleasure.
The other important thing that not many people know, and I didn’t know until I started keto is a difference between cacao and cocoa. Have you ever noticed that there is two of them? They both look pretty much the same but there is a significant difference in taste and nutritional qualities.
Cacao refers to any of the food products derived from the cacao bean that have remained raw. Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans, this process retains all the good stuff that cacao beans have. Like antioxidants, flavanoids, minerals: magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese, vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and Pantothenic acid.
Cocoa powder is the ‘raw cacao’ that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Process of roasting kills most of the goodness from the beans. So why do they roast it you would ask? I was thinking the same. Why should they complicate production process, if you can skip one procedure and have better quality product. I did my research and find out that most cocoa beans they use for chocolate making are fermented, but are not roasted yet. Fermented beans are naturally full of bacteria, fungi and molds. But fermentation is essential, being responsible for the development of lots of the chocolatey flavour. So there is some risk of infection from unroasted cocoa beans. If you roast them you will kill all the unhealthy stuff that has grown on them but unfortunately you also kill most of the good ones. There’s also easier to remove the husk from the bean when it’s roasted, and very hot temperature gives the chocolaty flavour (the same like with roasting coffee).
So the next question you would ask – what happens with bacterias and moulds with raw cacao production? How do they hmm…dissappear? As raw beans dry outside naturally, they never reach the same high temperatures. So the producer needs to be sure that the supply chain is fully trustworthy. When the cacao is drying outside, it needs absolutely clean environment, under cover and with controls in place. Additionally, several tests are carried out to check that the bacteria isn’t present. That would explain why raw cacao powder is three times more expensive than the roasted one. Not only because all the process is much longer, but also needs to be more careful and controled. So always be aware to choose good quality cacao from certified companies. According to International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) current policy, is that there should be at least a standardized amount of cut tests conducted. This is a visual inspection of 300 beans per ton to check for quality. The number of beans that are visibly mouldy, slaty, insect damaged, germinated, or flat is recorded.
So the logic conclusion would be, that maybe roasted cocoa is more healthy than it’s raw version. For me personally raw cacao has much better taste. Roasted cocoa tastes bitter and unpleasant. I don’t mind roasted cocoa in chocolate or in cake, I like it’s bitterness in these cases. But in a hot drink or a smoothie I definitely prefer raw cacao, because of it’s taste and nutritional qualities. Than what if my raw cacao is infected with some bacteria? Well I believe that if your body is strong and your stomach full of good microbes it will manage to fight the potential unwelcome guests.
Indian cacao drink
INGREDIENTS (for 1 portion):
· 1 headed tsp raw cacao
· 250 ml water
· few drops of vanilla extract or a piece of vanilla pod
· ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Put all the ingredients to a small pot, pour hot water and boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Drink hot and enjoy the sweetness of vanilla and spiciness of cayenne. It will warm you up immediately.