You know what has made life relatively easier for me as a mother? Yes, you can find the answer in the title of this post. Carob powder! Hari always had an aversion to cow milk and I’m one of those parents who believe that a glass of milk in a day is a must for a child. Literally, we were at war each day, he trying to refuse what I was trying to feed and me trying to coax him into drinking it, showing him rhymes on youtube, knowing that it may not be the right thing to do, enacting stories and the like.
Like most other kids, Hari loves chocolate! My efforts to keep it away from him came to a standstill when he discovered its joys in the form of a leonidas bar that he had promptly taken from the fridge when he had just turned two. To tell you the truth I was quite elated at the sophisticated and refined tastes of my baby who had taken a few bites of dark chocolate, which even some adults abhor and even took a picture of it to show my husband. I don’t mind him indulging in it once in a way but definitely not each day. And with doubts about the calcium absorption properties of chocolate, mixing it with his milk as a daily drink was out of the question!
One day, after being frustrated with the time consuming effort it took to get a glass of milk into my baby’s system, I suddenly remembered a jar of carob powder that my beloved Ro had got me from the US, lying in my larder. It worked like magic the first couple of days and thereafter although it wasnt a piece of cake, I took solace in the fact that at least he was not refusing his milk now!
My next dilemma was sourcing carob as it is not available in India and my jar was bound to get over soon. A quick research on the net revealed some sources and I finally got some shipped from the good folks at Barry Farms.
I love carob for many reasons. With origins in the mediterranean area and a member of the legume or pea family the ceratonia siliqua, also known as St. John’s bread and Locust bean has none of the harmful substances like oxalic acid which is known to cause acne and kidney stones, caffeine which can cause high levels of cholesterol and leaching of soluble vitamins like B and C and phenylethylamine and tyramine which are known to trigger migraine attacks. From firsthand experience I can tell you that when I overindulge in chocolate continually, my skin breaks out.
Apart from the rich cultural and historical significance, carob has many healthful properties. It is naturally caffeine and oxalate free. It is calcium rich and unlike chocolate does not limit the absorption of calcium into the blood stream. Carob is also vitamin (A, B, B2, B3 and D) and mineral (magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and potassium) dense and is a good source of fiber and protein. It is not only cholesterol free but has pectin which is known to lower cholesterol. Carob is also traditionally used to treat cough, sore throat, diarrhea and an upset stomach.
Carob powder can be replaced directly in place of cocoa and carob chips or bars can replace chocolate. Carob is lovely in hot and cold drinks, puddings and ice creams. I love the raw, rustic appeal of carob and the fact that it has so many magical properties only adds to its charms. On days when you want a cup of a soothing drink to calm and rejuvenate your senses, make yourself a cup of hot carob drink. It is sure to soothe, relax and revive you in many ways!
P.S – I love chocolate and this post is not meant to highlight its negative effects but to show the positive experiences I have had with carob and to highlight it as a wonderful ingredient!
Hot Carob Drink Recipe
250 ml (1 cup) milk (you can also use soy, oat, rice, etc)
1 tbsp carob powder
1/4” vanilla pod or few drops of vanilla extract
2 tsp or to taste raw brown sugar (or use sweetener of choice)
In a small saucepan, stir in the carob powder into the milk and mix until smooth and free of lumps. Put in the vanilla bean if using and heat over a medium flame. Turn off the heat before it comes to a boil. Stir in the vanilla extract if using and the sweetener. Fish out the vanilla bean if you have used one and pour into a cup or a mug, sit back, relax and enjoy!
Makes one cup