By Naini Setalvad
Add flavour and nutrition to your diet by incorporating peanuts and see the difference, says Naini Setalvad
The peanut forms one among the few foods such as banana and potato, which is nutritious, delicious and democratically accessible to all – rich or poor. We need therefore to be very grateful for its existence. The peanut, known as mungphali in Hindi, is an integral part of Indian cuisine. It is added to many dishes from chutneys to dals, used in gravies, sweets, or savouries, and is often served as prasad, distributed on auspicious occasions. Groundnut oil is a well-known cooking medium in many parts of India, especially the West. But the peanut stands robustly on its own feet as well. Munching on peanuts (salted, spicy and other variations) is everyone’s favourite ‘timepass’ activity. They are an ideal substitute for the calorie-laden chips and wafers, as they keep hunger away for a long time and are lower in calories. Boiled peanuts garnished with your favourite spices makes for a yummy snack.
Called the poor man’s cashewnut, the peanut has a rather unusual growth pattern. The flowers grow over the ground, pollinate themselves and in a few days, stalk-like stems push the peanut pods into the ground ready to be picked when mature.
Tasty and nutritious
Peanuts should be consumed with their skin intact as it contains the maximum antioxidants. Boiling peanuts with a little salt multiplies the isoflavone, a kind of antioxidant almost four times more compared to raw or roasted ones. Little wonder that in many cuisines a few peanuts were usually added to dals, vegetables and curries. It is also a popular garnish for salads. Dry roasting peanuts increases their antioxidant content by about 22 per cent. Peanuts also prevent colon cancer. It belongs to the legume family and has a good amount of protein. It contains fats but of a healthy variety. Peanuts are commonly used in Indian sweets like laddoos, mithai and chikki. And, of course, the popular sabudana khichdi laced with coarsely ground groundnuts, is a great favourite among those who maintain fasts. It also makes for a tasty dry chutney popular in Maharashtra. Did you know peanuts help to reduce incidents of heart attacks and cancers? It has been proven that consuming a handful of nuts daily reduces the chance of getting cancer. Peanuts are low in the glycemic index therefore it keeps you full for a longer time and prevents hunger pangs. It regulates blood sugar levels and is ideal for diabetics. However, make sure you chew them thoroughly as they are slightly difficult to digest. Add peanuts along with black salt and lemon juice to salad and see the mouthwatering difference! Feeding elephants and monkeys with a handful of peanuts is a common sight in India!
100 grams of raw peanuts contains 21g of carbohydrates, 9g of dietary fibre, 25g of proteins, 4.26g of water, 62mg of calcium, 2mg of iron, 184mg of magnesium, 336mg of phosphorus, 332mg of potassium and 3.3mg of zinc in it.
Peanut Sauce Rice
150 gm rice, raw
One small green capsicum cut into long strips
One small red capsicum cut into long strips
One small yellow capsicum cut into long strips
One small cucumber cut into long strips
1 small onion cut into long strips
One small tomato cut into long strips
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Ingredients for peanut sauce
5 tbsp peanut butter
4 tbsp water
3/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp jaggery
Method for the peanut sauce
Add water, chili flakes and red chili powder to the peanut butter.
Add jaggery and water to this mixture and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to a kadai (wok) and cook on a high flame.
Take it off the flame once it starts to thicken. Cool. Method for the rice
Cook the rice and set aside.
Pour oil in a kadai.
Sauté the red capsicum, yellow capsicum, green capsicum, onions and cucumber.
Sauté well, add tomatoes to it and cook for a minute.
Add the cooked vegetables to the cooked rice.
Add salt and peanut sauce to the rice. Mix well.
Dates and Peanut Rolls
100 gm soft seedless dates
50 gm roasted peanuts
1 tbsp ghee
Put the seedless dates in a bowl.
Coarsely grind the roasted peanuts and mix with dates.
Grease your palms with a little ghee and shape into rolls.
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