Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Boiled Peanuts

Freshly harvested raw peanuts, boiled in salted water - we grew up eating them and we both love them. They are one of the popular street foods in India. But they are hard to find here in US, particularly in the northeastern states. Imagine my surprise when I saw them at Subji Mandi, NJ during our recent trip.

Raw Peanuts

We bought 5 pounds, we couldn’t wait, ate half of them raw on our return trip. We cooked the remaining half in salted water. They are wonderfully tasty and we couldn’t get enough of them. We should have bought lot more. Perhaps next time, whenever that’s going to be.

For more weekend herb/food ingredient blogging, checkout Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Ingredients (Sunday October 16, 2005 at 6:12 pm- permalink)
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Chitrannam (Lemon Rice)

Nimmakaya Pulihora:

Prasadam in temples, part of festival feast, or simple lunch - Chitrannam or lemon rice plays an important part of South Indian meal. Our celebratory feasts are not complete without this particular dish. The tangy rice prepared with lemon juice refreshes the palate after the sweet beginnings, as you may already know it is an Indian tradition to serve the sweet first. I think serving these two, traditional Indian sweet and chitrannam together, is our elders way of reminding us to appreciate life moments, both sweet and sour. That is why, I think the temple prasadam or the celebratory food in all moments of our lives includes chitrannam.

People, who know the taste, crave this lemony rice. Even though the recipe is so simple to make, there is always one expert in the family who prepares the best chitrannam. In my home, I can manage an edible one, but Vijay prepares the ‘can’t get enough’ version. We do use the same ingredients and methods; still I don’t know how his version always turns out so exceptional. I am sure it is true in every other south Indian family too. Only chosen few are blessed by Annapurna, the Goddess of Food, to prepare this favorite food of Gods. It is one of those recipes, where either you have it or you don’t. And I am sorry to say that even though I know the authentic recipe, follow all the tricks and tips still the end result in my case always turns out mediocre. There is no magic in my hand.:)

What about you, are you the chosen one? Try it out, if you have not already done so.

Recipe:
(Serves two)

Limes, cashews, peanuts, majjiga mirapakaayalu, vertically slit green chillies, mustard seeds, cumin, red chilli, curry leaves, soaked chana dal, urad dal, cubed potato

Rice:
4 cups of freshly cooked rice. (Any kind of white rice is ok for this recipe, but I prefer ‘Sona Masuri’. Cook it like for pulao or fried rice but not like pongal or risotto.
Limes and Chillies
2 to 3 juicy limes - cut and juice to a cup
6 to 8 green chillies, Indian or Thai variety - slit vertically
(Chitrannam needs spicy punch from chillies. So, add one or two chillies (of any variety) more than your normal tolerance of chillies. Otherwise the dish falls apart, and lime juice dominates the taste.)
Seasoning
¼ cup - Chana dal (senaga pappu), pre-soaked in water at least half an hour before.
2 tablespoons - urad dal (minapa pappu)
1 teaspoon each - salt and turmeric
2 tablespoons -ghee, Or oil for calorie-consicous.
For popu or tadka
1/2 tsp each - mustard seeds, cumin, and red dry chilli pieces.
12- 15 fresh curry leaves. Don’t forget to add the fresh curry leaves. Chitrannam is not authentic or complete without the curry leaves.

You can prepare decent, basic version of chitrannam with the above items. But for special occasions, and if you want to impress guests or family, then you need the following items too.

Nuts
Quarter cup - cashews
Quarter cup - peanuts
Veggies
Quarter cup vegetables - I usually add potato, finely cubed, sometimes Indian type brinjal and shredded carrot too.
5 to 6 majjiga mirapa kaayalu (Green chillies soaked in buttermilk and completely dried in sun, a specialty of Andhra), deep fried in oil.

Method:

In a skillet, heat one tablespoon of ghee. First add peanuts, fry them until they turn light brown. Remove. Add and fry cashews next. Remove from the pan to a plate, keep them aside.

Now in the same skillet, add another tablespoon of ghee. Heat. Add and fry the curry leaves first. Then cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to splutter, add the split green chillies, chana dal, urad dal, and cubed potatoes. Saute them till golden and crisp. In the end, sprinkle half teaspoon turmeric for that golden yellow color. Mix and then saute for another one to two minutes.

cashews and peanuts saut�ing in ghee  saut�ing the Chitrannam/lemon rice ingredients in ghee
Sauteing the cashews and Peanuts…… Sauteing the veggies and dals

Mixing turmeric Mixing saut�ed ingredients with rice along with lime juice
Stirring in turmeric………. Squeezing some lime juice over rice and sauteed ingredients

Add the sauteed ingredients of skillet, and also the toasted peanuts and cashews to the cooked rice. Stir in salt and sprinkle the limejuice. Combine thoroughly and delicately (without breaking the rice grains) with your hand or using a big slotted spoon.

Have a taste, it should zing or shock your taste buds like sucking on a fresh lime wedge. If not, add some more limejuice and salt. Mix again. And keep in mind that rice absorbs the limejuice, and the tanginess you feel during the preparation reduces in intensity after sometime.

Serve with fried majjiga mirapakaayalu (buttermilk soaked, dried green chillies) and a cup of yogurt for a nice meal.

Lemon Rice and Pickled Green Chilli (Chitrannam and Majjiga Mirapa kaayalu)
chitrannam(Lemon Rice) with majjiga mirapa kaayalu.

Chitrannam, the English translation of this Telugu word is chitra= wonderful, magical, Annam= rice. This Refreshing lemony rice is all that and more, and tastes great when served hot or cold.

Recipe Source:Attamma(MIL)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Peanuts, Limes/Lemons, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Cashews, Sona Masuri Rice (Friday October 7, 2005 at 2:07 pm- permalink)
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Peanut Chutney (Groundnut Chutney)

Buddala Pacchadi:

Peanut chutney is the usual accompaniment to breakfast dishes like upma, pongal, pesarattu, dosa, and vada at my home so I prepare peanut chutney quite often. Also it makes a decent substitute to coconut chutney. Fresh coconut is a premium thing here at Ohio, because of that whenever a chutney recipe is called for I usually go with home classic, a crowd pleaser and an Andhra delight ~ peanut chutney (Buddala pachadi in Telugu language).

Peanut chutney ingredients
Peanut Chutney Ingredients

Recipe:

1 cup - peanuts
5 dried red chillies
1 small onion and 1 garlic clove - sliced to big chunks
2 teaspoons - tamarind pulp or to taste
½ tsp salt or to taste
For popu or tadka - 1 tsp each - cumin, mustard seeds, urad dal and six curry leaves

First step is roasting the peanuts.

If I have some time to kill, I usually go for stove-top method.
Place an iron skillet on stove top and on medium heat, slowly roast the peanuts to golden brown color. Cool and rub the skins off. I love the roasted peanut taste produced in this slow-cooking method.

In a rush, needs to prepare quickly, then I go for microwave method.
Pick a wide and big microwave safe bowl. Place peanuts and microwave them for 2-4 minutes, uncovered. How fast the roasting process is done depends on how powerful the microwave is and the quantity of peanuts. After each minute of microwaving, remove the bowl and mix or turn the peanuts with a spoon for even cooking. Microwave again for another one minute and repeat the process. Do this until the cream colored peanuts turn to light brown color. I have to warn you though, just like in any roasting process, microwave method is also a delicate one and in a split second perfectly golden peanuts could turn to charcoal black. Please be careful and pay attention to the process, if this is your first time. Once you get the hang of it, it will be really a breeze to roast peanuts in a microwave.

Step Two:
Heat a tablespoon of oil to smoking point in an iron skillet. Add and brown dried red chillies, onion and garlic.

Wait few minutes for them to cool down. This cooling process somehow increases the chutney taste tremendously and saves the motor blade of your mixer from melting.

Take roasted peanuts in a blender/food processor. Grind to fine.
Add other ingredients, plus tamarind, salt and a cup of water.
Grind to fine consistency.
Remove the chutney to a bowl.
Do the popu or tadka (toast popu ingredients listed above, in half teaspoon of oil in a vessel), add them to the chutney. This is always the final seasoning thing we do.
Mix and serve.

For breakfast dishes like upma, dosas, idlies etc, I always make the chutney little bit watery (see the chutney photo below). If the chutney is for rice (yes, it tastes quite good with rice also) I’d make the chutney little bit tight with as little amount of water as possible. (In the first case we have to dunk the breakfast item in chutney and in second case we have to mix it with rice and shape it into a round.)

Peanut chutney
Peanut Chutney

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Dry Fruits, Nuts & Seeds, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Friday May 13, 2005 at 1:50 pm- permalink)
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Capsicum(Bell Pepper) Curry

Like chillies, bell peppers are also members of the capsicum family. They range in color from green through to orange, yellow, red and now the latest fancy color in US markets is purple.

The most common varity we see in Nandyala region is green bell peppers. They have refreshing juicy flesh and crisp texture. And unlike mature bell peppers yellow and red, they do not have sweet flesh, which suit the curry preparations.

The following is a traditional recipe with green bell peppers from Nandyala, India. In peanut sweet and sour sauce, this beloved bell pepper curry is easy to prepare and tastes quite good.

Capsicum-Peanut Curry Ingredients
Green Capsicum, Tomato and Onion

Recipe:
3 green bell peppers (capsicums)
1 small onion
1 big, ripe tomato
Cut the above vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

For gravy:
1 cup of roasted, unsalted peanuts, skins removed
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tbsps of tamarind juice
2 tbsps of crushed jaggery or cane sugar
2 cloves, 1-inch cinnamon stick, 1 tsp cumin (jeera)
1/2 tsp of salt.
Grind all the above into a smooth paste by adding half cup of water.
Sometimes I substitute peanuts with toasted sesame seeds and sometimes I combine both peanuts and sesame seeds for different tastes.

Gravy Ingredients Peanut Paste

Sauteeing the bell pepper Curry Cooking

Preparation:

In a pan, add one teaspoon of oil, when it is hot, add pinch each -jeera (cumin) and mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the cut vegetables. Saute until they are half cooked. Stir in the prepared peanut paste and half cup of water. Mix well, taste the gravy and add jaggery, salt and red chilli powder if needed. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on medium flame, covered, stirring occasionally, till the bell peppers become tender and gravy thickens.

This capsicum curry tastes great with rice and with chapati.

Capsicum-Peanut Curry with Rice
Capsicum in peanut sauce with rice ~ Our meal today.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Bell Pepper, Sesame Seeds (Tuesday April 26, 2005 at 1:41 pm- permalink)
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