First a quick look at some of the nutritional benefits of dates. Dates contain a wide range of essential nutrients and are a fantastic source of potassium.They are rich in dietary fibre, so therefore helps protect the colon mucous membrame from cancer-causing chemicals. They contain tannins which possess anti-infective,anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties.They are also an excellent source of iron. They also have many other health & nutritional benefits which you can read more about here .
The first recipe using dates I decided to try out was this Wild Rice, Dates & Walnuts despite the fact that it isn´t very toddler friendly because of the nuts and even though I suspected that my daughter would not so much as touch it!I thought at first that I´d overcooked the rice as it looked quite clumpy/ mushy but however the end result was delicious and I´m glad I tried it. It is quite reminiscent of couscous and the sweetness of the dates and the crunch of the walnuts gives it added texture and flavour.As predicted though my daughter wouldn´t try it.I adapted the recipe from my New Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book.
1/2 chopped onion
1 tbsp butter
1/2-3/4 cup of wild rice,rinsed and drained
1 cup of chopped celery
200ml chicken stock(I used Oxo chicken stock cube)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup pitted dates,chopped
1/8 cup chopped walnuts(toasted if time)
1. Cook onion in hot butter for 10 minutes until tender.
2. Add wild rice and cook for 3 minutes while stirring.
3. Add celery ,chicken stock and water and bring to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes(the original recipe said 40 minutes but mine was ready between 15-20 minutes) until rice is tender and most of the liquid has absorbed(much like a risotto).
4.Stir in dates and walnuts and cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes.
5. Serve as a side dish with chicken or fish.