Tibetans Tselling Tsampa in Tsquamish & Tsteveston!
- Sam Salmon May 22, 2012 05:47 PM
Sorry for the overly cute subject line....
I first saw Tsampa for sale @ the Squamish Farmer's Market Easter Sunday and this past Sunday once again saw the operation @ Steveston.
Sadly both times I had just stuffed my face and couldn't sample the food on offer so can't offer any more info-has anyone tried it?
I've had tsampa before (in Tibet, not BC). Uh, if this is replacing macarons as the new food trend I'm passing.
It's eaten out of nutritional necessity, barley being one of the few crops that grow at 4000 meters, and assuming it's mixed with yak butter tea in a traditional way, it's both bland and funky. Like masticating on a mix of unscented cat litter and rancid melted butter.
I'm curious to see how they're suggesting to apply it to a Western diet (sprinkled on popcorn?). Best of luck to the women selling it, and I'm sure there'll be plenty of people keen to give it a try, but give me a momo any day!
Toasted barley flour is also traditional in the Ecuadorian highlands (machica)
While this blog talks about making a flat bread, the traditional Ecuadorian use is closer to the Tibetan - to make a drink (sweetened with raw sugar).
In Japan and Korea, whole toasted barley is used to make tea.
I saw them at the Steveston market and had a sample, it was DELISH! They mixed the Tsampa in with vanilla yogurt which gave the yogurt a lovely taste. Barley is such an underrated grain.
I bought their Traditional which is not flavoured and just barley. I had it every morning with my oatmeal and slowly started eating just Tsampa as a porridge by stirring it into warm milk. One of the ladies told me I could use it as a thickener which I did and it worked great! They were at the Ladner market this week so I just bought a few bags to stock up. Still haven't tried the other flavours yet though.
FYI Great Himalaya Foods will be at the UBC farm market this Sat
From the farm newsletter:
"Great Himalaya Foods
Vancouver based company making specialty grain foods, featuring Tsampa (Tibetan Cereal), a Himalayan Superfood made from organic, whole grain barley. Take your health & energy to new heights!"
That makes sense. The Korean barley has the husks. Recently I bought some 'sprouting barley' which also has the husk. I sprouted some, and dried it, but had a hard time making something useful (e.g. malt flavor) from it, due in part the presence of the husks.
I also bought some purple barley, which I think is a hulled Tibetan variety. It cooked, and tasted, much like the other hulled (hulleless) barley.