Kale chips are one of the trendiest foods around. Health food nuts with fanny packs and dreadlocks have been touting re-usable containers filled with these delectable delights for years but its only recently that the rest of us have started to notice these magnificent morsels.
In it’s hydrated form, kale looks a lot like lettuce. It’s got thick crinkly green leaves and leaves a distinctly bitter taste in the mouth. Although kale may look like a leafy green it is actually a member of the Brassica family which means it’s closest relatives are cabbage, brussels sprouts and broccoli. I’ll never ever forget the first time I bravely peeled back the lid on a can of kale. That sulfuric smell, which reminds one of an outhouse, hit my nostrils so hard I nearly fell over. Yes, hydrated kale is an acquired taste. But dehydrated kale- well that’s something altogether different. Once you suck the water out from those dark green leaves then kale becomes a delicious, lip-smacking carrier for whatever mouth-watering concoction you chose to dress them with.
And dehydrating kale couldn’t be simpler. The most foolproof method being a dehydrator set to 135F for a few hours. But you can also dry kale out in the oven. Simply turn the oven to it’s lowest setting and stir your kale occasionally, watching to make sure the little green leaves don’t get too brown. Aim for crispy. It should take 20 minutes to an hour.
Most people who’ve tried kale chips begin as purists- dabbling in the universally accepted combination of olive oil and salt. And this is a good way to start but today I’m going to share my all time favorite kale chip recipe- one whose extensive ingredient lists makes the plain ol’ oil and salt version seem dreadfully dull by comparison. I invite you to discover Asian Kale Chips. Here’s what you need:
1 bunch kale, torn from stem, washed and dried
1/4 c. peanut butter
2 Tbsp oil (preferably sesame)
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 red onion, finely chipped
2 Tbsp soya sauce
1 Tbsp hot sauce (optional)
Stir together all of your saucy ingredients then massage it into your kale leaves
If using a dehydrator, spread your kale evenly across the trays and set temperature to low or if you have a thermostat, 135F. The temperature is relative. The warmer your dehydrator, the quicker your kale chips will dehydrate. If you are a raw foodist, as long as you dehydrate kale at a temperature below 118F you’ll be able to preserve all of the nutritional enzymes this amazing food contains. Dehydration will take several hours.
If using an oven, set to lowest possible temperature. Spread your kale evenly across a baking sheet and pop it into the oven. Watch closely! Depending on how hot your oven gets the kale could crisp up in 10-20 minutes. Check the kale often and give it a stir now and then to avoid burning. A few brown edges are fine and taste pretty good but too much time in the oven will spoil the whole batch.