Feeling on edge lately? Can’t sleep at night? Maybe you could use some luscious, relaxing Xanax pudding. Well, today is your lucky day because we have the recipe.
OK, it’s not literally Xanax pudding. But nutrition educator, executive chef and founder of balanced, personalized food service Food Matters NYC Tricia Williams has let us in on the secret ingredient to a recipe she created. It’s not Xanax — it’s kudzu root.
What the heck is kudzu root and what does it do?
Kudzu is a plant that has been used medicinally by Eastern culture for about 2,000 years, Williams tells us. It has several benefits. The starchy root can have a have a calming effect on the body and it can stabilize blood-sugar levels, among other effects.
If you find yourself waking in the middle of the night, it could be because of the way you’re eating, Williams says. So the blood sugar-stabilizing effect of kudzu can help you sleep better. She says she gives her 11-year-old son (who has dyslexia and anxiety) some of the pudding with apple slices before bed to help calm his mind.
How do you cook it?
Kudzu root works pretty much the same way as arrowroot or cornstarch. In fact, you can substitute either of those ingredients with kudzu in a recipe using the same measurements. It’s not typically sold as a powder, though. It’s more often sold as starchy chunks, so Williams suggests making a slurry with warm water before using.
Where can we find it?
You can find kudzu root in health food markets, but the most common way to find it is in the Asian foods section. Look for Eden, which is probably the most common brand that produces it.
How much is effective?
Williams says kudzu root’s effectiveness really depends on the individual. There are a million different factors. But generally, about half a tablespoon is a potent amount for most adults. She adds that you can swallow a chunk like aspirin if you’re not up to making pudding.
Kudzu root is fairly gentle and should not have an adverse effect for healthy people, but do talk with your doctor about it. It’s definitely not the answer for people with high levels of anxiety, either. However, along with other lifestyle changes, it can help those of us with occasional or mild anxiety.
Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but if you’re making this as a bedtime snack, go with the original recipe rather than making chocolate pudding. The caffeine in chocolate pudding (especially if you’re using high-quality chocolate) is likely to counteract the effects of the kudzu root.
Kudzu root pudding recipe
Yields: 6 servings
- 1/3 cup water
- 2-1/2 tablespoons kudzu powder
- 1-3/4 cups coconut milk
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 vanilla bean
- Pinch of sea salt
- Place water and kudzu powder into a saucepan. Whisk until powder is dissolved. Add coconut milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla bean scrapings and sea salt.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk often. When the mixture comes to a slow boil, remove it from the heat and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. Pour it into ramekins or desired serving cups. Chill it in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.
Recipe by Tricia Williams, executive chef and founder of Food Matters NYC.
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