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Also Known as
Groundnut, moongphali, moongfali, sing, singdana
Contrary to what their name implies, peanuts are not true nuts but a member of a family of legumes related to peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans. Peanuts start growing as a ground flower that due to its heavy weight bends towards the ground and eventually burrows underground where the peanut actually matures. The veined brown shell or pod of the peanut contains two or three peanut kernels. Each oval-shaped kernel or seed is comprised of two off-white lobes that are covered by a brownish-red skin.
Peanuts are almost consumed with cocktail snacks, and the ever-popular peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Due to their high protein content and chemical profile, peanuts are processed into a variety of different forms, including butter, oil, flour, and flakes.
Raw, fried, roasted, shelled or unshelled in all forms are available throughout the year.
Boiled Peanuts are relished on their own, hot, warm or cold - as per one's choice. To boil them, first wash them thoroughly in cold water until water runs clear; then in a large pot, place soaked peanuts and cover completely with water. Add salt to taste. Cook it with a lid on it. Remove from heat and drain peanuts after cooking or they will absorb salt and become over salted. The cooking time of boiled peanuts varies according to the maturity of the peanuts used and the variety of peanuts. Peanuts may be eaten hot or at room temperature, or chilled in the refrigerator and eaten cold.
Peanuts can be peeled or unpeeled, as desired. Take a sharp knife, slice it from the top to remove the stem and then cut it into half from the centre. Cut the half portion into another half and remove the seeds from centre. Chop ingredients by cutting them in small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "coarsely chopped," make the pieces slightly larger.
Chopped salted peanuts
Using a sharp knife cut it into half from the centre. Cut the half portion into another half and chop it by cutting them in small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "coarsely chopped," make the pieces slightly larger.
Peanuts can be crushed finely or coarsely, as per one's preference. To crush them, add it to the grinder and grind till required texture is attained. These are handy to enhance the taste of gravy vegetable and also Peanut chilli can be made out of the same.
Crushed salted peanuts
Salted Peanuts can be crushed partially or finely as desired. It can be done with either using a mortar and pestle or a grinder. This can be a great addition to any sweet or savory food items.
In a pan, heat oil as required. Lower the heat and add peanuts. Stir-fry constantly for at least 5-6 minutes. Fry peanuts with a quick to-and-fro motion until they begin to blister and turn brown. Test by tasting one peanut to make sure that the peanuts are not still raw inside. Drain the excess oil and remove from the pan and allow it to cool. Add it to any farsan, chivda or as preferred.
Roasted and chopped peanuts
After roasting peanuts whole, allow it to cool and then using a sharp knife, cut it into half from the centre. Cut the half portion into another half. Chop ingredients by cutting them in small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although chopped peanuts doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "coarsely chopped," make the pieces slightly larger
Roasted and crushed peanuts
Roasting enhances the flavour of the peanuts. Hence, to roast add few peanuts to pan. Stir it frequently on a medium flame. Roast till light brown and allow it to cool. Take care that it does not burn. To crush them, add it to the grinder and grind till required texture is attained. It could be finely or coarsely crushed.
Roasted and powdered peanuts
Clean and dry roast the peanuts in a pan till they turn crisp and the turn slightly golden brown in colour. Take care not to over roast them as it can burn the peanuts. Cool and crush using a rolling pin or you can also blend them in a mixer into a coarse mixture. Use as required.
Roasted and salted peanuts
Peanuts can be roasted as well as salt can be added as preferred. In a pan, on a medium flame roast the peanuts after removing their skin. Roast till light brown in colour and then add salt as per the taste.
How to Select
Roasting enhances the flavour of the peanuts. Hence, to roast add few peanuts to pan. Stir it frequently on a medium flame. Roast till light brown and allow it to cool. Take care that it does not burn. Cool slightly and use as per the recipe or remove and discard the skin before using them.
Shelled peanuts are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the peanuts are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure the nuts' maximal freshness. Whether purchasing peanuts in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture or insect damage. If it is possible to smell the peanuts, do so in order to ensure that they do not smell rancid or musty.
Whole peanuts still in their shell are usually available in bags or in the bulk bins. If possible, pick up a peanut and shake it, looking for two signs of quality. First, it should feel heavy for its size. Secondly, it should not rattle since a rattling sound suggests that the peanut kernels have dried out. Additionally, the shells should be free from cracks, dark spots and insect damage. Culinary Uses
" Sprinkle peanuts onto tossed salads.
" Peanuts can be eaten raw, roasted or steamed.
" They are often inculcated in sweets, chocolates, candies.
" Groundnut flour is often used for people who want to gain weight and for its high nutritive value.
" A very basic ingredient added to make chutneys.
" Often used to thicken the vegetable curries or soup.
" Peanut Butter makes delicious spreads on breads, waffles, toasts, crackers, apple slices, celery or carrot. You can spread it plain or also flavour it with the choice of your spice. You can also stir in raisin and honey. It can also used for dressing salad.
" Add peanuts to healthy sautéed chicken and vegetables.
" Make a simple salad by combining sliced green cabbage, grated ginger, Serrano chilies and peanuts. Toss with olive oil-tamarind dressing.
" Try peanut butter and banana, peanut butter and honey, or peanut butter and chopped apple, pear and/or raisins. How to Store
Shelled peanuts should be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer since excess exposure to heat; humidity or light will cause them to become rancid. Shelled peanuts will keep in the refrigerator for about three months and in the freezer for up to six months. They should not be chopped prior to storage, only right before eating or using in a recipe. Peanuts still in their shells can be kept in a cool, dry dark place, but keeping them in the refrigerator will extend their shelf life to about nine months. Health Benefits
" Peanuts are a good source of protein and mono saturated fats, a type of fat that is given weight for healthy heart diet.
" Peanuts contain high level of polyphenols, which have strong antioxidant properties.
" Eating a handful of peanuts helps malnourished and underweight people.
" Chewing peanuts with a pinch of salt strengthens the gums.
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