Tonka Beans (Dipteryx Odorata)
Dipteryx odorata, sometimes known as the Kumaru tree, is a fruit-bearing tropical tree plant endemic to South America. It thrives in Brazil's most humid and forested regions. Tonka beans are the dried seeds of its fruits, which are utilized for culinary and cosmetic uses.
The beans are small, with a shiny, wrinkled shell, and a softer brown inside, that looks like a woody raisin. Tonka's main distinguishing trait, however, is its immense intensity; overwhelming vanilla aromas, greasy clove fragrances, and sandalwood overtones. They have a nutmeg and bitter almond taste. Vanilla, licorice, caramel, and clove blend with cherry and rum notes.
The essential oil of the tonka bean is used in aromatherapy because of its strong scent. It is thought to be calming and stress-relieving. As a result, it is prescribed for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, nervousness, and sleep difficulties.
The French have nicknamed their fascination with the bean fièvre tonka, or "tonka fever" (a pun on the French term fève, which means "bean"). It can be used as a vanilla alternative.
It does, however, contain Coumarin, a naturally occurring compound that has the potential to cause health problems such as liver damage; nonetheless, it would require consuming 30 full tonka beans to feel any detrimental consequences from this toxin. Nobody eats the beans whole, though.
Tonka bean powder can be blended with white flour to produce tonka-flavored bread, with icing sugar to make tonka-flavored macaroons, or with allspice to flavor bread and butter pudding.
It's great in fish tartare, delicate risotto, cookies, pastries, and creams.
Tonka bean is typically used to flavor liquids like milk, creams, and custards.
Grate them over chocolate soufflés, ice creams, pancakes, chocolate pies, creams, cookies, cakes, and buns, as well as in iced juices. Season mashed potatoes, soups, and white meats with this seasoning.
Tonka is a perfect complement to chocolate and pairs well with sweet fruits like strawberries and apricots. Tonka's rich flavor makes it a fun cocktail component, since many of the strong, spicy notes overlap with whiskeys and cognacs.
◉ Spices should be stored in airtight glass containers -in a cool, dark, and dry area- to preserve their flavor.