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Also known as
Piyal seeds, Charoli, Charooli, Chirolo, Chirongi nuts.
Chirongi nuts are small, round musky-flavoured nut traditionally used in the region around Hyderabad in India. Sometimes called charooli or chirolo, chirongi nuts have no English name. They are the kernels of a fruit whose shell dries to bustle hardness. The fruit is cracked open and the nuts are extracted. These are further dried and then packed for distribution. Chirongi nuts are small pale and speckled with dark patches. They are slightly flat and round in shape and are the size of lentils. They have a slightly nutty aroma and a pronounced taste that is between nutty and musky. They taste just like almonds and usually are added in kheers, payasams and kulfis. Chirongi nuts are an important garnish for halwas cakes and creams and are favoured in Gutarat, Maharashtra and Hyderabad.
How to select
They are quite difficult to come by outside India and they would be only found at well stocked Indian grocery shops. In India, they are readily available in regular grocery stores as chironji daana or seeds. Look for small whole nuts without any insect infestation or stones.
· Used primarily as a topping for sweets they go especially well with sweet halwas where vegetables like carrots and fruits like bananas and sapotas (chikoo) are cooked with sugar until smooth and creamy.
· They are also a must on top of a delightful dessert called shrikhand which is a tantalising combination of thick strained yoghurt sugar saffron cardamom and milk that has been cooked on a slow heat until it resembles condensed cream.
· Chirongi nuts are used for texture and nuttiness in kababs and kormas.
· You could be innovative and sprinkle them on fruit salads, soups and chicken or lamb dishes
How to store
Store them in a airtight jar for up to 6 months.
· Like almonds, chirongi nuts have been credited with the power to sharpen concentration, improve eyesight and provide strength and vigour.
· They are rich in Vitamin E and zinc.
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