Recipe – Indian Gooseberry |Amla Chutney With Peanuts


Indian gooseberries | Amla | Nellikai, dried or fresh, pickled or raw, I like them in any form. Apart from the usual culinary uses Amla also plays a major role in traditional Indian medicines. Unique in flavour, this lovely neon green fruit is in abundance. The ripe ones have a lovely golden yellowish hue. I have also seen some with a pink tinge or rusty-red, even white.

Though it is exceptionally tart and astringent, the water tastes sweet after a bite or two of this fruit. I love eating it raw with little sprinkle of cayenne pepper and salt. One has to develop a taste for it to eat raw but one can use it splendidly in chutneys, jams, murrabas (preserves), candies or grate it and add to vegetables, rice, daal, soups. salads too. Amla juice is considered very beneficial for many diseases and for cleansing the toxins from the body. Add amla to any of the fresh fruit juices to enhance its taste and nutritional value. The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C (100gm of amla has approx 600mg of Vitamin C, over 240% RDI). One berry may contain Vit C of two oranges. That’s a lot.

The fruit pairs well with many of the fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The classic green chutney with mint/coriander and amla is part of dialy meals across India.

When choosing the fruit, always pick the ones which are not bruised, taut and full to get maximum flavour.

I love to make chutneys of various kinds and you can use amla in a variety of chutneys. This one is with roasted peanuts. You can use soaked raw peanuts too. I prefer the roasted flavour. I didn’t know that peanuts weren’t actually nuts but were part of legumes like beans and that boiling peanuts increases its disease fighting compounds.

Peanuts are heart friendly and I love them in all forms. From simply roasted/boiled/ salted/unsalted ones for munching to adding them in various recipes or even those coated in jaggery. Remind me to make peanut brittle or moongphali ki patti. yummiest thing ever. A few days back I made the first batch of peanut butter and it is vanishing rapidly.

To make Amla Peanut chutney you will need :

Handful of shelled, roasted or soaked peanuts

Raw Amla – 1-2 medium size

Chopped coriander greens –  about 1/2 cup

Garlic pods – 3-4

Ginger – 1/2 inch

Green chilli – 2-3 ( as per taste and hotness)

Salt – as required

Ingredients in a grinder

Ingredients in a grinder

Method : 

You can soak the peanuts in drinking water and use them with the papery skin they have. I roasted the shelled peanuts on low heat till they gave out the toasty aroma. Once roasted, remove the skin by rubbing the peanuts between the palms of your hands. Use peanuts that are clean, not bruised or blemished or broken. Remember to use a handful to roast any nut. Nuts don’t like to be crowded. If you put a large amount they won’t get roasted equally and burn too.

Wash and cut the Amla in wedges. Remove the grape like pit. Chop green chillies, ginger and garlic roughly.

Add all the ingredients in a grinder with a bit of water to make a smooth paste. I do not like the chutneys to be very smooth so I leave them a bit grainy ensuring that the ingredients have grinded properly.

Spoon the chutney in bowl and squeeze some lime over it (half a lime).

Amla Peanut Chutney

Serve it with almost anything. Use it as spreads for sandwiches like I did or pair it with sooji / besan ka cheela.

The chutney goes well with everything.

Recipe : Homemade Peanut Butter


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Peanut Butter jelly sandwich has been my all time favorite. In fact I love peanut butter with anything. Spread on rotis, biscuits, cream crackers, in candies, smoothies, pies etc. One can also make delicious peanut butter cookies, fudge, satay, pudding,  peanut butter chicken and other sumptuous dishes with it  or simply lick it off like I do many times when no one is looking :p .

I learned and perfected the art of making good peanut butter and for sometime even took orders to sell it. One you make peanut butter at home you will never feel excited about store bought peanut butter.  I like it smooth and easy to spread but one can make it a little crunchy too. Here is an awesome website for PB lovers. Check  it out  [ LINK ]

Before I share the recipe let me tell you some facts.

**Did you know that peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts, and they originated from Brazil, and that even the Incas appreciated the delicious taste of peanut butter many centuries before us! 😀

**”Arachibutyrophobia” (pronounced I-RA-KID-BU-TI-RO-PHO-BI-A) is the fear of peanut butter getting stuck
to the roof of your mouth.

It is a very healthy lunch box meal power packed with protein and other nutrients. Home made Peanut butter has minimum salt and absolutely no preservatives so it is  better than the ones bought from stores and turns out to be cheap too. You can make it crunchy or smooth according to your taste.  I make it smooth.

The little bit of fiber found in peanut butter (1 g per tablespoon) combined with its protein content can give dieters a feeling of satiety, or fullness. If you feel full, you will eat less, so a serving of peanut butter may actually help keep your overall caloric intake down.

Now for the recipe

Ingredients:

Peanuts : 1/2 kg shelled

salt : 1/2 teaspoon
Sugar : 1 tablespoon
Peanut oil : 1 table-spoon
Method :
Roast the peanuts with their skin on slow fire in a heavy bottom pan till brown. Make sure they roast well but don’t get burnt even slightly or they will taste bitter.
Remove the skin by rubbing between palms.
In a blender put peanuts, salt, sugar and oil and blend till a smooth paste in made. Do not blend more than necessary or the mixture will  start leaving oil.
Raw Peanuts

Raw Peanuts

Exif_JPEG_420

Exif_JPEG_420

Delicous &  Nutritious

Delicous & Nutritious

If you want it crunchy then blend till it gets a crunchy ( with small bits of chopped peanuts) texture.
You can add or decrease salt and sugar according to taste.
 Adding little vegetable or peanut oil with ingredients prevents peanut oil from separating while blending. Once in the processor the peanuts will go through stages of: crushed, crushed into a fine powder, a paste, a thicker paste, a big “dough ball”, and then the ball will break down into runnier peanut butter. At the point the peanut butter is runny, continue processing for about 1 more minute, making sure the peanut butter is as smooth as desired. Keep stopping and stirring in between to avoid the machine from getting over heated. It will also help the salt and sugar to blend nicely.
Scrape it out and fill it in a glass jar. Make sure to keep the container tightly sealed after each use.
Keep it in the fridge for as long as you wish. Do not freeze. Usually it lasts for two to three weeks if stored wisely.
Enjoy the thick peanut butter spread any time of the day.

Nuts About Nuts


Health Benefits of Nuts

Nuts can be addictive but if they are eaten in moderation, their health benefits are immense. They are great source of proteins, vitamins and healthy oils especially vitamin E oil. Eating nuts ensures a healthy cardio- vascular system. It is always a good option to munch on nuts and not to go for unhealthy snacks between meals. Every nut is shapes like the organ it helps most, such as walnuts are shaped like the human brain and the cashew nuts like the kidneys. Therefore, you will know which nut is good for which body part.

The top four nuts that I recommend are Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts and Cashew Nuts but one can always choose from a great variety of other healthy nuts available in the market.

1. Almonds

Key Ingredients:

Almonds are a rich source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, folic acid, calcium, vitamin E (an anti-oxidant) and selenium. Almonds are also high in fiber. They contain high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats.

Benefits:

Almonds help in preventing diseases such as gall stones, type 1 diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, impotency, respiratory diseases. They help cut cholesterol and aid weight loss. They help to fight against the health damaging free radicals and increase the oxygen-based energy production.

The flavonoids in the skin of the almonds together with the vitamin E, which is in the flesh of the nut, make them an extremely powerful antioxidant. They are also anti cancer agents.

Almonds are rightly called the king of nuts for their excellent health benefits. Have 8-10 almonds a day to keep your skin glowing and body in good health.

2. Walnuts

Key Ingredients:

Walnuts are excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as vitamin E. they are rich in proteins.

Benefits:

Walnuts are a fantastic brain food and nourish the brain. They help lower cholesterol and in that way help heart too. They help in strengthening the bones due to  presence of Omega 3 fat in them and improve the functions of the intestines.

They also help in lowering the risk of gall stone formation. They contain a hormone called Melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland, in bio-available form. It helps in inducing and regulating sleep and is a powerful antioxidant.

Walnuts also contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid, which blocks the metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer.

Therefore, walnuts have a wellness formula in a nutshell.

3. Peanuts

Key Ingredients:

Peanuts are a good source of vitamin E, A, B and C, fiber, folic acid, thiamine, niacin, copper, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, and zinc. They are a very good source of monounsaturated fats.

Benefits:

Peanuts are the powerhouse of nutrients and a very healthy snack. Peanuts are also a good source of resveratrol. Generally associated with red wine, resveratrol  is believed to slow or prevent  formation of arterial plaque and are good for heart. Peanuts can act as an appetite suppressant.

A quick snack of peanuts can satisfy hunger for up to two and a half hours. They are rich source of anti oxidants and protect our body from cancer causing free radicals. They help fight the type 2 diabetes. They also increase the immunity levels if taken daily in moderation. They are also extraordinarily high in polyphenols and proteins.

Eat them roasted or make a delicious peanut butter from them.

4. Cashew Nuts

Key Ingredients and benefits:

Cashew nuts are significant sources of iron which is essential for red blood cell function and enzyme activity, magnesium  which promotes energy release and bone growth, phosphorus that helps build bones and teeth, zinc that is essential for digestion and metabolism and selenium which has important antioxidant properties, thus protecting the body from cancer.

They are also great source of protein. They have low-fat content and are cholesterol free. They are rich in iron, potassium, magnesium  and vitamin A. They are good body builders and energizers. Cashews contain healthy monounsaturated fat that promotes good cardiovascular health.

Magnesium works with calcium to support healthy muscles and bones in the body. It also helps promote normal sleep patterns in menopausal women. High copper content in cashew nuts is vital in energy production, greater flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints.

They are rich in dietary fibers also and can help weight management.

Nuts should be eaten in moderation. Replace the unhealthy snacks with fistful of healthy mixed nuts and reap their benefits.