Call it bias but of all chutneys that I enjoy making for breakfast, two figure quite high on my list. The first is the Bangalore restaurant-style chutney that combines coconut with fresh coriander, garlic, green chillies and roasted Bengal gram. The other is a typical Andhra-style peanut chutney that I enjoyed on my last visit to my paternal village Tadimalla in West Godavari district. Andhra Pradesh isn't just one of the top 5 producers of groundnuts in India, peanuts figure prominently in many dishes adding an interesting dimension in terms of flavour and texture.
There are quite a few theories about how groundnuts became one of the major crops of the erstwhile Madras Presidency. Most food historians suggest that it was introduced in India around the 16th Century by the Portuguese who brought it here from South America. A comprehensive research study by Shankarappa Talawar of the University of Georgia, USA observes that peanuts were referred to as Manilakottai (Manila nuts) in parts of Tamil Nadu, suggesting that peanuts could have found their way to South India from the new world via the Philippines. Interestingly, peanuts don't belong to the nut family and are classified as legumes with the likes of lentils and soybeans. Peanuts are packed with proteins, Vitamin E, magnesium and folate.
Recipe - Bendakaya Vepudu
Recipe courtesy - Novotel Ibis Chennai OMR
A few months ago, I was at the Novotel Ibis Chennai OMR where I tried a simple yet delicious Andhra-style vepudu or stir-fry. It's become my 'go to' style each time I make a bendakaya (okra) stir-fry. It's really flavourful despite the lack of any masala or tempering of ingredients. You can try this recipe at home; it's a great accompaniment for rice and sambar or rasam.
- Okra: 500 gm
- Raw peanuts: 100 gm
- Salt to taste
- Chilli powder to taste
- Oil (Groundnut or rice bran): as required
- Add the peanuts to the oil once the oil begins to sizzle in a non-stick pan
- Add the salt and chilli powder; fry till the peanuts turn slightly brown
- Add the okra (finely chopped) and fry till the okra turns crisp
Recipe - Andhra style Peanut Chutney
I first tried this chutney with a typical Andhra pesarattu but it's equally delicious with idli and dosa
- Peanuts (better without the skin)- half cup
- Onion - half
- Cumin - 1/2 teaspoon
- Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
- Garlic - 2 cloves
- Red chillies - 3
- Cooking oil - 1 teaspoon
- Tamarind - small quantity
- Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Urad dal - 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt - as required
- Dry roast the peanuts and some of the curry leaves separately
- Add the peanuts, curry leaves, chillies, salt, cumin, garlic onion and tamarind and blend in a mixer
- 'Temper' the mustard seeds, urad dhal and balance curry leaves and add them to the blend.
Recipe - Guntur Kodi Kura/ Guntur Chicken Curry
Guntur is famous for its trademark red chillies and is home to one of the largest dried chilli markets in India. I last visited this market in 2019. This recipe doesn't just depend on Guntur chillies for its flavour but also features peanuts.
- 1/2 kg - Chicken (cut into medium-sized pieces)
- 5 - red chillies
- 2 - Onions (chopped)
- 2 tsp - Ginger garlic paste
- Few curry leaves
- 1/2 tbsp - Turmeric powder
- Salt (to taste)
- Few coriander leaves (chopped)
For Dry Roast & grind:
- 2 tbsp - Cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp - Coriander seeds
- 2 inch - Cinnamon stick
- 3 - Cloves
- 2- Cardamom
- 6-Red chilli
- 3 tbsp - Roasted peanut
- 1 tbsp- Ghee
- 1tbsp -white Sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup- Peanuts
- Dry roast all the ingredients (under the dry roast and grind list), until aromatic.
- Grind them into a fine paste adding some water and keep aside.
- Heat enough oil in a pan, add red chillies and finely chopped onions. Add the curry leaves, and saute; till the onion turns golden brown.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and sauté for 2 mins.
- Now add the ground paste, sprinkle some water and cook for a few seconds.
- Add the chicken pieces to the cooking masala. Also, add the turmeric powder and salt after adding the chicken to the masala.
- Cook everything in medium-high flame for about 5 minutes until the chicken pieces get well coated with the masala.
- Close & cook on a low flame for 20 minutes.
- Now take 1tbsp of ghee in a fresh pan, roast the peanuts and sesame seeds on a low flame (make sure not to burn the peanuts and sesame seeds). Once cooled, coarsely grind them and sprinkle on the cooked chicken; this will enhance the flavour.
- Add the coriander leaves and turn off the stove.
You can try this with steamed rice or rotis. It also works well with dosa.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.